MMDA chief proposes garbage incineration to lessen flooding

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MANILA, Philippines ” To solve the perennial problem of flooding in Metro Manila, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino said Monday there is a need for the incineration of garbage, which he claimed was the root cause of the clogging of waterways that cause massive flooding in the metropolis. In an interview at the MMDA headquarters on Monday, Tolentino said the effective solution to the flooding problem was incineration of garbage, which is prohibited, however, by the Clean Air Act. Garbage causes flood and to solve this trash problem, incineration is the only way, Tolentino said, claiming that was the most effective means of dealing with Metro Manila’s garbage. Last week’s flooding was a testament to this claim as about 15 truckloads of garbage where collected by the MMDA along Roxas Boulevard alone. The agency also led a cleanup drive along Araneta Avenue corner E. Rodriguez Avenue where heaps of trash where collected. Tolentino said that in Sweden, incineration has been used since 1960 and has resulted in a garbage-free and flood-free country. A single incinerator in Sweden has a capacity of 2,000 tons of garbage daily, said Tolentino, who visited that country earlier this month. He said that Metro Manila would need about four incinerators since the average amount of garbage here is about 8,000 tons daily. One incinerator, according to Tolentino, costs around P7 billion. If we are going to place one each in the north, south, east and west of Metro Manila, we would not anymore experience flooding, Tolentino said. Asked if this solution would sacrifice environmental safety, Tolentino claimed that it would not be hazardous since the incineration process he was proposing was smokeless. Aside from being environmentally safe, Tolentino said, incineration can also produce energy which the people can use. He said his proposal was backed by the Vice Mayors’ League of Metro Manila and the Metro Manila Council as both have passed resolutions supporting incineration. Incinerators will complement the pumping stations we have in the metro, Tolentino said, noting that pumping stations do not have the capability of removing trash from the waterways. But while he continues to lobby for garbage incinerators, Tolentino said, the MMDA plans to add two pumping stations in San Juan and one in Marikina to help prevent floods in these two critical areas. Waste disposal by incineration has not been applied in the country as the Clean Air Act of 1999 or the Republic Act No. 8749 bans incineration. In 2002, however, the Supreme Court ruled that not all modes of incineration are banned by the law. Section 20 [of the Clean Air Act] does not absolutely prohibit incineration as a mode of waste disposal; rather only those burning processes which emit poisonous and toxic fumes are banned, the ruling said. But despite this, groups pushing for the use of incineration said that there are still no clear rules and standards on how to use modern incineration methods

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