Is This A Lesser Evil? Waste-To-Energy Plant Approved For Large-Scale Use In Philippines

waste to energy
The joint venture deal for waste-to-energy facility has been criticized by environmental and public health groups.
The second-biggest metropolis in the country, Cebu City, signed a joint venture to build a garbage incinerator by 2025. According to an agreement, NSEI will invest nearly US$82 million to construct the incinerator, and in return, city mayor Mike Rama consented to using the facility and paying a tipping fee higher than the landfill fees currently paid. However, environmental groups warn that incinerators emit toxic pollutants into the environment, such as dioxin, lead, and mercury.


Joint venture deal for waste-to-energy facility

The signing of the joint venture moved ahead despite protests from green groups, such as the Ecowaste Coalition and Health Care Without Harm, that plan to challenge its legality. Burning waste is banned by environmental laws including the Clean Air Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
Based on the JVA, NSEI will be shelling out P4.8 billion for the construction of a six-hectare WTE facility in Cebu City. The company will operate the facility for 40 years before handing it over to the city. “We are still looking at different lots at different areas [for the facility],” Razilee Ligaray, legal counsel of New Sky Energy Incorporated said in a press conference on Thursday, September 22. The Press Conference also mentioned a capacity to process 800 tons of garbage daily. 
Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera says NSEI’s P4.8-billion project would provide electricity for 40,000 households, and give the city P24 million per year in gross power sales revenues (Image Credit :

Environmentalists dismayed

Environmental and public health groups expressed dismay over Rama’s JVA with NSEI.

Mayor Rama’s approval and signing of a 40-year agreement with a garbage incinerator company undermine citizens’ effort to minimize and reduce their waste, while locking in the city to a very long tenure of dirty and expensive waste management system,

Incinerators, which are disguised as waste-to-energy facilities, emit toxic pollutants such as dioxin, lead, and mercury. New Sky’s waste-to-energy technology relies on a mechanical grate incinerator, preventing pre-treatment chemicals from being needed to handle large volumes of garbage. It also states that combustion residue or slag would be evacuated by an extractor and treated.

Rather than using public funds to invest in waste-reduction initiatives, the groups urged city officials to invest in critical measures that would protect public health.

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