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Environmental groups oppose waste-to-energy project in Davao

/ 04:53 PM September 23, 2011

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Environment groups here are up in arms against a waste-to-energy facility proposed recently by the German companies Herhof and Sinovia Capital to the government of Davao City.

The pollution watchdog body EcoWaste Coalition has asked Mayor Sara Duterte to reject the proposed plant, which it said was “disguised as ‘waste-to-energy’ but is actually an incinerator.”

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“The proposal promotes burning of otherwise valuable resources in fundamental conflict with our Clean Air and Ecological Solid Waste Management Acts,” said Rei Panaligan of EcoWaste Coalition, a public network of over 125 environment, health and people’s groups worldwide.

”We strongly urge Mayor Duterte to reconsider her option and refrain from signing any agreement with these companies,” Panaligan said.

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Duterte told reporters earlier the companies plan to invest some $1 billion in the waste-to-energy plant in Davao if the city could supply the plant with 1,000 tons of garbage per day.

But she hinted that the city would not be able to meet the requirement because the city’s waste segregation ordinance implemented in July this year has greatly reduced the garbage from 500 tons a day to 300 tons a day.

Unless the city government allows the shipment of garbage from nearby cities and provinces, current garbage production would fall short of the daily requirement of the plant, Duterte said.

“Unless, they waive their volume requirement, the city is not inclined to accept it,” she said.

But some councilors said they were interested in the proposal and were considering a trip to Germany to see how similar plants operate and determine their viability in Davao City.

But Kinaiyahan Foundation said the city government should not rely on these trips alone and should demand detailed feasibility studies on the impact of the project on the environment before agreeing to it.

“The city might sacrifice more than benefit from these projects,” said Betty Cabazares, executive director of Kinaiyahan Foundation.

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“Burning waste directly competes with smaller industries and communities engaged in recycling, composting and waste collection, undermining current government efforts to protect the environment,” she said.

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