The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has issued guidelines on the establishment and operation of waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities for the treatment of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the country.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu in a statement said with these guidelines, government will be able to pilot WTE method without violating the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999.
Under the guidelines embodied in DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2019-21 that was signed by the official last November 26, there will be environmentally-sound evaluation, establishment, operation and decommissioning or closure of WTE technologies for MSW management.
WTE is the energy recovered from waste by processing non-recyclable waste materials to produce heat, electricity or fuel while MSW is the waste produced from activities within local government units, which include a combination of residential, commercial, institutional and industrial trash and street litters.
The DENR is looking at WTE as a cleaner and more sustainable alternative to the traditional sanitary landfill, which is the waste disposal method allowed under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, citing the country’s growing garbage problems.
Cimatu also assured the WTE guidelines will “adhere to the policy of the government to ensure the protection of public health and environment” as it will also be complying with Presidential Decree 1586-Establishing an Environmental Impact Assessment System; emission standards as contained in the Clean Air Act; effluent standards as contained in the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004; and regulation on the use and disposal of hazardous substances and waste as stipulated in the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Act of 1990.
The DENR such move is crucial especially since Metro Manila generates about 56,000 cubic meters of trash per day and several power generation companies have already expressed interest to put up more WTE facilities.