Velasco bats for waste-to-energy bill

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    BY Peter Tabingo

    SPEAKER Lord Allan Velasco has expressed hope that the Senate will find time to pass a bill that will allow the use of waste-to-energy (WTE) technologies to complement the country’s existing solid waste management programs.

    Velasco noted that House Bill No. 7829 or the proposed “Waste Treatment Technology Act” has been approved on third and final reading last November 24 while the Senate version authored by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian is pending on second reading.

    He said a WTE program can help to greatly reduce the volume of trash that goes into sanitary landfills which are rapidly filling up, presenting potential public health hazards.

    Citing government data, Velasco said only 30 percent of the country’s population has access to sanitary landfills even as an estimated 43,700 tons of garbage are generated by households and business establishments daily.

    “The huge amount of waste that we produce threatens to overwhelm our landfills and create worse garbage disposal problems. Before this happens, we must look for cleaner and more sustainable methods to treat and dispose of solid waste such as WTE,” he said.

    HB 7829 proposes amendments to Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act of 1999 which prohibits incineration as a waste disposal method.

    Velasco said there are now proven technologies that uses WTE processes without emitting poisonous or toxic fumes.

    “WTE facilities provide a safe, technologically advanced means of waste disposal that reduces greenhouse gases and generates clean energy,” he said.

    Velasco, a former chairman of the House committee on energy, said the electricity produced from a WTE facility offsets the greenhouse gases that would otherwise have been generated from coal and natural gas plants.

    He pointed out that WTE is widely used in European countries, where there are limited spaces for landfills. It has also worked to keep trash off the streets and waters in Japan and Singapore, he said.