Friday, August 22, 2014

Palayan wages war vs wastes, crafts 10-year waste management plan

PALAYAN CITY – This city – Nueva Ecija’s capital – has waged a protracted war against wastes by formulating a 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) intended to mitigate the impact of a worsening garbage disposal problem whose projected volume of 13.2 tons of waste per day could double over the  same period.

          Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas said the city government’s SWMP is in consonance with the provisions of Republic Act 9003, also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act which mandates local government units (LGUs) to prepare their respective SWMPs for the re-use, recycling and composting of generated waste and its efficient management and disposal.

          “This 10-year plan contains all the components provided in RA 9003 and a timetable for implementation in accordance with the national framework plan. It contains the direction, scope and the process by which the plan was developed,” she said, adding its main features are to provide a doable ecological solid waste management program, creating the necessary institutional mechanism and incentives, declaring certain acts prohibited, providing penalties among others.

          “It conforms to the city government’s vision of turning Palayan into a vibrant capital of Nueva Ecija with a well-managed environment, effective and efficient waste management system that addresses the waste problems not only through reduction and recycling but also through organic fertilizer production, establishment of material recovery facilities (MRFs) in the barangays and pocket green parks around the city,” she added.

          Anelyn Bongcawil, city environment and natural resources officer, noted that as early as 2010, the preparation of the city’s SWMP was already started and submitted to the National Solid Waste Management Council (NSWMC) and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

          However, its approval was held in abeyance by these agencies due to inaccurate data and for failing to conform with the provincial and regional SWMPs.

          The Cuevas administration has since instituted various programs and measures such as the closure of controlled and open dumpsites in Barangay Atate, the adoption of clean and green programs and construction of a model MRF awarded by the NSWMC.

          At present, the city government has established barangay MRFs in six of its 19 barangays. These are located in barangays Aulo, Bagong Buhay, Caballero, Mapaet (formerly Manggahan), Militar and Santolan.

          Helen Grace Antonio, a consultant from the mayor’s office, said that based on their projection, the volume of the city’s waste could balloon from 13.2 tons per day (tpd) at the end of 2014 to 23 tpd by 2023.

          By 2015, this could go up to 14.2 tons per day, to 15.6 tpd by 2016, to 16.8 tpd by 2017, to 17 tpd by 2018, to 18.2 tpd by 2019, to 19.4 tpd by 2020, to 20.6 tpd by 2021, to 21.8 tpd by 2022 and finally to 23 tpd by 2023.

          Based on a report, biodegradable wastes form the bulk of collected wastes at 4,273.2 kilograms per day (kpd) followed by recyclables at 2,353.2 kpd, residual wastes with 5,086.8 kpd and special wastes at 288 kpd.

          Antonio said that the major sources of residual wastes are six urban barangays of the city (38.11%), the 13 rural barangays (36.48%) and non-households (14.74%).

          The most common residual wastes include diapers, sando bags, thin films, metallic, metallic foil and sachet, tarpaulin and broken ceramics.                

          The garbage problem has become a major issue during last year’s elections when Cuevas was accused by her political rival of reportedly supporting the establishment of a sanitary landfill in a 20-hectare site in Barangay Imelda Valley.

          The proposed sanitary landfill was contained in a 25-year lease agreement entered into in June 2012 by Cuevas’ predecessor, former mayor Romeo Capinpin with a waste-to-energy corporation.

          Cuevas denied she is supporting the landfill project, saying she was in fact instrumental in having the contract between the Capinpin administration and the firm Ecosci Corporation rescinded by the Sangguniang Panlunsod.

          Cuevas said it has consistently been her position to oppose the proposed sanitary landfill together with Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali not only because of the health hazards but also because of the stiff opposition by civic leaders and local residents.

          She said the city government is bent on pursuing the setting up of an economic zone in the city, a vision which it shares with the provincial government. – Manny Galvez

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