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Phl, Japan to start waste-to-energy project

MANILA, Philippines — The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are starting a three-year technical cooperation project to enable local government units (LGUs) to convert municipal waste to energy.

In a statement, Japan’s official development assistance arm said under the project, DENR and LGUs will be introduced to advanced technologies that can be used to convert waste to energy and improve municipal solid waste management methods.

In several cities, increased waste generation has prompted LGUs to explore the use of new technologies to reduce the volume of waste. Unavailability of land for use as new dumpsites and freight costs are preventing many LGUs from disposing of municipal waste properly.

JICA said Kitakyushu City in Japan, for example, generates around 1,300 tons of solid waste per day and transforms 70 percent of it into energy. The Japanese city currently has a strategic partnership on waste management with Davao and Cebu cities.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu and JICA chief representative to the Philippines Susumu Ito signed recently the Record of Discussion to jumpstart the cooperation that would commence next year.

The National Solid Waste Management Commission issued guidelines on the use of waste-to-energy technologies last year.

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“With the cooperation, LGUs will hopefully find sustainable solutions to waste management issues and challenges,” said JICA.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) earlier urged city governments to open up the management of municipal solid waste to private sector participation to overcome the immense investment cost and management burden of disposal.

ADB estimates that Metro Manila, a metropolis of 12 million people, produces about 6,600 tons of municipal solid waste daily. A large portion of the refuse is burned in open air, contributing to air pollution.

JICA said several private companies have already expressed interest to establish facilities for converting municipal waste to energy.

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