No to wasteful waste management projects

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - February 21, 2020 - 12:00am

The continuing collection and disposal waste management system uses up millions of precious public money. Across years, records have shown that this conventional system is highly expensive. It is also extremely ineffective!

Have the officials not noticed this obvious fact or do they merely want to ignore that adding more trucks and increasing the budget will not decrease garbage volume and not solve the garbage problem?

Are government officials not bothered that while they have continued to allocate millions, almost a billion pesos per year for basura, they have not allocated the same huge amount for food for hungry constituents, for employment of the jobless, for wider and better quality health service and other welfare delivery for the poor?

Again, don’t they care that the garbage volume occupies so many hectares of precious land area while many of their needy constituents do not even have a decent space to live in? So many homeless yet basura is easily provided hectares of land. Why?

Again, why do government officials continue to adopt and implement this wasteful system instead of closely understanding why waste continues to increase and instead of reviewing whether there is a need to approach the solution of waste away from the present costly, people-and-environment-unfriendly and ineffective collection and disposal system?

Through the years, landfills and dumpsites have overflowed with unsegregated, smelly, unhealthy garbage indicating that garbage cannot be solved by building these structures. Instead of recognizing the simple truth that landfills and dumpsites are not the solution to the waste problem, officials merely move the garbage problem to other expensive landfills and locations!

Why spend people’s funds for wasteful and ineffective garbage solutions? Why throw away millions for basura? Why not use the garbage funds for people instead?

The solution is so clear and simple yet officials choose to look for complex and costly solution to waste. Why?

Segregation at source is key. If waste generators manage, segregate their own garbage and dispose only residual wastes, then expect disposable waste volume to decrease, then there will be no need for more trucks, no huge volume of waste to dispose of, no mountain of garbage to rise ever again!

And no need to waste millions on basura! Less funds for basura and more funds for people, then less number of poor perhaps in the future?

Why has this waste segregation policy not been tried seriously and consistently? Why has alternative waste management system not been allowed to prove its worth versus the expensive, useless, conventional waste collection and disposal system?

Why are officials not giving this alternative waste management system a chance to be adopted and implemented?

Instead, aside from landfills, is it true that “a waste-to-energy (WTE) project is in the pipeline, is happening very soon, and, with no need for bidding?” Is it true that this project will cost trillions of pesos?

Again, why throw away trillions of pesos for waste? If the WTE system were so successful, would not have more countries and more LGUs in the Philippines adopted this earlier?

Before the Cebu local government units adopt this WTE project, can they present to the people reliable, confirmed data showing a.) Where the WTE projects have been sustainably successful and efficient elsewhere in the world and in our country, b.) That such facilities have in fact produced enough energy beneficial to the communities, and, c.) That the WTE projects are not polluting and will not violate the Clean Air Act?

Do the WTE proponents also realize that not only will the costly WTE encourage the public to throw more waste but that no WTE can function without waste segregation? Why waste trillions then?

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