CSO Waste Summit: Is WTE the solution?

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

Concerned about the latest approval of the majority bloc of the Cebu City Council for a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) for the use of Waste to Energy (WTE) to solve the city’s waste problem, the Philippine Earth Justice Center (PEJC), EcoWaste Coalition, the Regional Center for Expertise-Cebu, other partner civil society organizations (CSOs) and multisectoral stakeholders will hold the 2022 CSO Waste Summit on “Is WTE the solution?” this coming Tuesday, April 5 from 9 p.m. to noon at the University of Cebu Main Campus auditorium.

The summit will be hybrid --online and actual. Those who cannot go to the UC Main Campus auditorium may join through Zoom.

For more details about this summit, please contact Mr. Paulus Ruaya at 09054028660. Or please also check the following Facebook pages: Philippine Earth Justice Center, EcoWaste Coalition, and UC Legal Aid Office.

As the WTE is not only proposed for Cebu City but for certain other areas of Cebu Province and the whole country, this summit will be open to all, subject to auditorium/Zoom attendance limit and required health protocols at the UC auditorium.

We hope this educational summit will enlighten online and actual participants about the definition, causes/sources, and solutions to the waste problem where they are.

We look forward to both the proponents and opponents of the WTE and JVA to accept the invitation and join the summit so they can enlighten the public about this WTE/JVA.

We pray Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, Councilor Raymond Garcia, Councilor Joel Garganera and the New Sky representative will join and accept the invitation to dialogue with speakers Atty. Nikka Oquias of PEJC, Dr. Jorge Emmanuel of Silliman University, Ms. Miriam Azurin of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives-GAIA Asia Pacific, and councilors Alvin Dizon and Nestor Archival for this summit which will focus on whether WTE is the solution for the waste problem, in this particular case, of Cebu City.

The invitation to the summit notes:

“Waste-to-Energy (“WTE”), which uses incineration as a means of reducing solid wastes, has been eyed by several local government units as a technology which can address the pressing, continuing problem of waste.

“However, the law and the science say otherwise.

“Not only does it contravene certain provisions of our laws (i.e. the Clean Air Act, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, the Renewable Energy Act), but WTE technology also poses a threat to the health of people and the environment and may also cause displacement of local communities. On the part of the LGUs, it also brings undue economic and financial burden which will be taken on for the next 30-40 years.”

The organizers of the 2022 CSO Waste Summit sincerely hope that the participation and discussion of the invited speakers in dialogue with the multisectoral participants and stakeholders can lead to a better, collective, harmonious understanding of and response to waste problems, causes and solutions, not only for Cebu City but for other locations as well.

Social acceptability, the consent/agreement of informed stakeholders, should be required and mandated for critical projects that will a.) Use up significant public funds (like billions for the WTE project across 40 years), b.) Compete with the allocation and use of limited funds/resources for existing, more urgent immediate needs for food, jobs, housing, health, and education of needy constituents, and, c.) Impact the health of residents, communities and the environment/planet.

Any decision for expensive public projects should not be left solely to a handful of LGU officials for approval/decision but should actively involve/engage the constituents.


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