PHP80-M waste- to- energy facility up in Dagupan within this year

DAGUPAN CITY — A permanent solution to the worsening garbage problem in the city may soon be a reality this year as the city government has found one proponent that is willing to build the PHP80-million proposed waste- to- energy facility at its own expense.

This was bared by City Legal Officer Victoria Cabrera during a public hearing conducted by the city council on Tuesday, that discussed the short-term solution to the present garbage crisis in the city brought about by the closure by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the city’s more than 50-year old dumpsite last January 21.

Cabrera said the waste- to- energy project has attracted one proponent which intends to build this project at its own expense– without a single centavo from the city coffers, but in turn will take all the profits from the sale of diesel fuel that will be produced out of solid wastes to be delivered by the local government to its waste conversion plant.

“Though we already have one proponent, it has yet to undergo meticulous evaluation from members of the selection committee,” she said, adding that this body includes some members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, other city officials and experts tapped by the city government to share some technical inputs concerning the project.

Cabrera assured barangay chairmen and other city officials that the selection committee will make sure that whoever will be awarded the project can properly handle the job for the good of the city.

The selection committee will next recommend the proponent for acceptance by Mayor Belen Fernandez, then the proponent will have to undergo several other processes before it can finally implement the project.

Mayor Fernandez arrived on Wednesday from the United States, where she attended a forum on federalism and good governance, as part of the Philippine contingent.

“We hope this year, the project can be hopefully implemented. We are positive that before the first quarter of this year, we can already take one initial step, Cabrera pointed out.

” Pagdating siguro sa Marso ngayong taon ay uusad na sa unang hakbang ang local na mamamahala para naman sa waste conversion facility (Perhaps in March, the local government can take one step concerning the establishment of the waste conversion facility),” said Cabrera.

However, in the meantime, Cabrera said while the city is working on the long-term solution to the garbage problem, the short term solution amid the closure of the city’s dumpsite must be put in place.

She called for full cooperation of barangay chairmen and their respective constituents by strictly observing waste segregation, re-use, recycling and composting to reduce the wastes in the city, while the city’s dumpsite is being rehabilitated.

But for now, the waste management division will collect the residual wastes to be compacted in the main Material Recovery Facility (MRF) near the city’s dumpsite while the biodegradable wastes will be retained by the barangays in their respective MRFs to be composted and converted into organic fertilizers.

Meanwhile, negotiations to bring some of the residual wastes of the city to the Urdaneta City sanitary landfill is yet ongoing. Leonardo Micua/PNA-northboundasia.com