Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sanitary landfill to generate P150-M annually for Rizal province

MANILA, Philippines - The provincial government of Rizal expects multimillion-peso annual revenues from San Mateo sanitary landfill project’s already operational three-hectare Phase 1 and newly-launched five-hectare Phase 2, both of which can collectively accommodate daily some 5,000 tons of residual waste.

Such revenues will comprise 25 percent of gross tipping fees from waste hauled to the P300-million landfill project dubbed as the Philippines’ ‘high-tech recycle bin of residual waste.’

”Twenty-five percent of 5,000 tons will amount to about P150 million a year for the province and its San Mateo municipality,” Rizal Governor Casimiro ‘Junjun’ Ynares III said Saturday during a press conference after launching the landfill’s second phase.

He noted Rizal province and San Mateo municipality will get equal share of the anticipated revenues.

”These local government units (LGUs) didn’t spend for the project but will receive such revenues – it’s part of the undertaking’s social contribution,” said Senando Santiago, president of San Mateo Sanitary Landfill Development Corporation (SMSLDC) which owns and operates the project.

Ynares spearheaded the launch with Santiago, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairperson Francis Tolentino, San Mateo Mayor Jose Rafael Diaz, SMSLDC general manager Dennis Sandil as well as Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Regional Executive Director Nilo Tamoria.

The launch included a bike tour, blessing of Phase 2’s site within the entire 19-hectare project area and tree-planting in two venues there.

Facilities in Phase 2 include a leachate treatment plant to help ensure effluent from waste deposited there complies with DENR standards before being released into the nearby creek.

”The resulting treated effluent can be used to grow fish and plants,” Santiago noted.

Aside from accommodating residual waste, however, SMSLDC planned green spaces within the project area so this can be a venue for tourism- and education-related activities as well.

”This project is the picture of things to come –- we look forward to seeing more sanitary landfills that aren’t for trash purposes only,” Tolentino said during the press conference.

Only a tenth of the landfill project’s total capacity is being utilized at present since residual waste accommodated and handled there come from merely two sources -- San Mateo and Cainta which are neighboring municipalities in Rizal province.

”We’re handling some 500 tons of waste at present,” Sandil reported.

SMSLDC anticipates also accommodating and handling residual waste from Metro Manila, the Philippines’ largest urban hub.

Available data show three landfills/dump sites accommodate Metro Manila’s garbage at present.

These are in Quezon City’s Payatas area, Navotas and San Mateo’s neighboring Rodriguez municipality.

Payatas accommodates 15 percent of garbage from Quezon City, one of Metro Manila’s biggest areas.

Another 15 percent of garbage from Manila, Navotas and Malabon is brought to the Navotas site.

Rodriguez accommodates 70 percent of Metro Manila’s garbage.

SMSLDC cited need to rationalize such garbage distribution particularly as data show the 30 year-old Payatas site is only good for three more years before becoming completely filled up.

”We hope part of Metro Manila’s waste can be brought to our landfill,” Sandil said.

He noted the landfill is prepared for such eventuality as studies show it’ll take almost a century for such facility to be filled up.

SMSLDC has another plan to help further enhance services of its sanitary landfill in San Mateo.

Santiago noted SMSLDC is open to building a refuse-derived fuel (RDF) plant there if volume of residual waste accommodated daily reaches at least 1,000 tons.

He noted such volume will make it financially viable for SMSLDC to put up one RDF plant, a facility for cost-effectively converting waste into fuel for cement plants.

”Capital expenditure for one RDF plant is about P300 million already,” he noted.

Tamoria reported that Laguna, Cavite and other provincial LGUs in CALABARZON Region are increasingly becoming interested in having their respective sanitary landfills.

Such LGUs can study the San Mateo sanitary landfill project to help better gain knowledge on developing similar environmentally sound facilities, he noted.

He assured DENR will continue monitoring the San Mateo project for compliance with relevant environment regulations.

”Such monitoring will also help allay people’s fear about sanitary landfills,” he said at the press conference.

Due to mounting public pressure to close down the Smokey Mountain garbage dump site in Tondo, Manila and to improve the country's waste disposal system, authorities opened in the early 1990s a 73-hectare regional sanitary landfill in San Mateo.

Operations in that landfill eventually affected surrounding communities and raised environmental concerns, however, leading to the facility’s closure in 1999. (Catherine J. Teves)

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