Dagupan to clear dump near seashore

DAGUPAN CITY — The city government here is set to clear one-third of the city’s controlled dumpsite, specifically tons of garbage some 15 meters away from the beach, as part of its intensified waste management in 2020.

In an interview on Wednesday, Mayor Marc Brian Lim said they have increased the fund of the city’s Waste Management Division (WMD) for next year.

“The dumpsite is now controlled. We wanted to remove one-third of it because its distance to the beach is already alarming. We increased WMD’s funding next year. They will have a little bit of budget to spare to clean the dumpsite,” he said.

He added the WMD has been earmarked a PHP57-million budget to procure heavy equipment and to dispose of the dump to be removed from the area to a sanitary landfill.

“Part of the budget (is) for sanitary landfill and it will undergo a bidding process,” Lim said.

The WMD has also strengthened the “‘no segregation, no collection” policy of the city. It has inspected some households and establishments penalizing violators of the city’s ordinance.

“It really has to start in the barangays (households) because when garbage is collected by WMD and these are not segregated, they already have a hard time. We hope it (segregation) will start in the household. Not to pass judgment to our city mates but if you look at countries with perfect segregation, it started in the household, that is the formula,” Lim said.

He added the dumpsite of the city increased its land area from 2.5 hectares (ha) to 4.5 has in six years.

Waste-to-energy facility

The mayor said the city is yet to decide on the waste-to-energy project which is entered into a joint venture agreement between a private company and the previous administration.

“We are not deciding for or against the project, we are asking the proponent to be able to answer our questions. This is not a yes or no right away, we need to study it carefully,” Lim said.

He added the city has not committed yet for many reasons.

The proposed site for the facility, he said, is covered with trees and near the Region 1 Medical Center rehabilitation facility as well as some private properties, including a resort.

“There are more or less 400 trees in the proposed site. Are they going to cut all these trees? And it is adjacent to a resort and the rehab facility is near the area as well,” he added.

Lim also questioned the capacity of the facility to process the city’s wastes as against the actual volume collected at present.

“The capacity of the facility is between 60 to 65 tons a day but Dagupan’s garbage volume is 90 tons a day. If the volume of wastes of the city increases, how will the facility cope with that?” he asked.

He added that the construction of the facility will take time and during the construction period, Dagupan City will not be compliant with the Solid Waste Management law.

“We also wanted to see legal consequences if we pushed through or if we don’t push through, we need to study it. We saw a provision in the agreement that states the city can unilaterally pull- out of the venture agreement anytime, we are looking closely at it,” Lim said.

The waste-to-energy facility is a USD11 million worth facility that promises to convert plastic waste into diesel fuel and food wastes into methane gas, among others.

This was signed through a joint venture agreement by then-Mayor Belen Fernandez in 2017 and United States-based firm, Sure Global.

Under the deal, Sure Global will provide the funding while the city will provide the site for the facility as well as the wastes to be processed. Hilda Austria / PNA – northboundasia.com