Expert fears waste-to-energy plant

AN EXPERT on emerging technologies in solid waste management (SWM) questioned the possible operation of a waste-to-energy plant here, with the local government still open to the idea alongside other SWM programs.

Dr. Jorge Emmanuel, who studies the effects of waste treatment technologies worldwide, told a forum at the Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) Monday that stakeholders should be wary of the proposal of a Japanese firm to operate a waste to energy here.

 The proposal, backed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is on the feasibility study phase.

Local officials here visited Kitakyushu, Japan in 2016 to see the best practices of the Japanese city’s own WTE plants.

“There’s a bad reputation of Japan in terms of dioxins because they allow much higher amount emitted to air than the rest of the world,” Emmanuel said. “It’s only recently that they lowered their emission.”

 Emmanuel said that dioxins are harmful to humans and animals alike, even in small concentrations.

The expert fears that the project could emit the said substance.

The JICA feasibility study will find out whether the city could be a possible location of the proposed WTE plant.

The study was undertaken through the joint efforts of Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering Co., Ltd., Kitakyushu City in Japan, and EX Research Institute.

Davao City, the proponents said, has a potential for the project.

The city disposes at least 600 tons of waste at the city’s sanitary landfill as of 2015.

In an interview Monday, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the city is looking forward to increasing the size of the city’s existing landfill.

Duterte added that JICA is also pushing for a study on a mechanized materials recovery facility near the landfill to reduce the amount of trash in the area.

An earlier analysis of proponents Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering Co., Ltd. and Kitakyushu City showed that the city has a potential of 1,700 calorific values (in joules per kilogram) per one ton of waste.

This was based on a sample waste analysis, in collaboration with the University of Mindanao.

The initial study showed the Davao City mostly produces plastic, china, garbage, and paper as most of its waste at the landfill.

The proponents claim that Kitakyushu has been able to reduce waste and instead transform this into electricity.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel said the operation of incinerators is not allowed under the Clean Air Act.

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