Cebu solon seeks to regulate use of treatment technology for hazardous wastes

Cebu City 2nd District Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa wants to regulate the use of treatment technology for municipal and hazardous wastes.

House of the Representatives (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO)

He filed House Bill No. 7045 seeking to repeal of Section 20 of Republic Act No. 8749, the “Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999,” and amend certain sections of Republic Act No. 9003, the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000,” to allow the use of incineration technologies for waste treatment and management.

Abellanosa explained that the provisions in the two laws were grounded on the assumption that incineration methods are harmful to the environment with the emissions that they produce.

“The advent of technology, however, has rendered such generalization inapplicable. Many of the incineration equipment available in the market nowadays prove to be less harmful to the atmosphere than coal power plants, an apt comparison given the proliferation of waste-to-energy (WTE) technology,” he said in his bill’s explanatory note.

The lawmaker cited the need for the government to find “more economical and sustainable means” of managing solid wastes, as the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has projected that solid wastes in 2020 will be about 17 million metric tons given an average waste generation rate of .4kg/capita/day.

“Without alternative methods of waste disposal, all of these will end up in landfills, and soon, we will be running out of areas to use for such purpose,” Abellanosa said.

HB 7045, the proposed “Regulation of Waste Treatment Technology Act,” provides that thermal and other treatment technologies for the disposal of municipal and hazardous wastes, or for the processing of any material for fuel, whether for commercial use or not, shall be designed and operated to meet the standards established in the proposed Act and its implementing rules and regulations.

These technologies shall be fitted with equipment that will continuously monitor, record, and make public the reported data on their emissions or air pollutant concentrations, the bill provides.

The units that recover energy shall be prioritized, and entities utilizing units shall incorporate in their facilities or operations proper materials recovery program, it said.

“This bill recognizes the immediate need for more efficient solid waste management systems and the employment of eco-friendly incineration technologies as a promising approach. That waste combustion facilities may now be equipped with waste-to-energy technologies makes the prospect even more attractive,” Abellanosa said.

HB 7045 tasks the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to be the major implementing arm of the proposed Act. It is mandated to promote the use of state-of-the-art, environmentally-sound, and safe technologies for the handling, treatment, thermal or non-thermal destruction, utilization, and disposal of residual wastes.

Under the bill, the local government units (LGUs) are mandated to promote, encourage, and implement in their respective jurisdiction a comprehensive solid waste management plan that includes waste segregation, recycling, and composting.

The measure tasks the LGUs to facilitate the establishment of treatment facilities within a region, province, or strategically clustered LGUs in consonance with their respective 10-year solid waste management plans made consistent with the national solid waste management framework pursuant to RA 9003.

The solid waste management plans of LGUs shall be subjected to the approval of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), it said.

HB 7045 provides that the responsibility for compliance with the standards promulgated for the establishment and operation of waste treatment shall rest with the owner and/or operator of a waste treatment facility.

Among the fiscal tax incentives granted to registered enterprises which shall invest in waste treatment facilities are income tax holiday within the first seven years of its operations; tax and duty exemption on imported capital equipment and vehicles within the first 10 years of operation; tax credit on domestic equipment; and tax and duty exemption of donations, legacies and gifts.

Non-fiscal incentives shall also be given to those who will invest in waste treatment facilities. These include financial assistance program provided by government financial institutions such as Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and others; allocation of five percent of their loan portfolio to waste treatment projects; extension of grants to LGUs; and incentives to host LGUs.

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