On December 6, 2019, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines announced the issuance of DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2019-21, Guidelines Governing Waste-to-Energy (WTE) Facilities for the Integrated Management of Municipal Solid Wastes (signed on November 26, 2019), which provides guidelines for the establishment and operation of Waste to Energy (WTE) facilities using Municipal Solid Waste (MSW).
In a forum held in Taguig City, the DENR Secretary Cimatu explained that the guidelines provide an environmentally sound approach to the evaluation, establishment, operation, decommissioning, and closure of WTE facilities using MSW. “With the establishment of the guidelines, we hope to demonstrate on a pilot basis that it is possible to solve the waste problem using WTE methods without infringing on Republic Act (RA) No. 8749, or the Philippine Clean Air Act.” WTE refers to the extraction of heat, electricity, or fuel from non-recyclable waste through a variety of processes. The DENR considers WTE to be a cleaner and more sustainable waste disposal method compared to conventional sanitary landfill disposal allowed under RA No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. Secretary Cimatu lamented that the waste problem in the Philippines is getting worse and worse, especially in Metro Manila where 56,000 cubic meters of garbage is generated daily. The DENR will follow the guidelines to avoid and reduce solid waste generation in a sustainable manner.
The main components of the guidelines are as follows.
|This Order aims to provide guidelines on the evaluation, establishment, operation, and decommissioning of WTE facilities using MSW, and ultimately to achieve integrated management of MSW.|
Scope and Coverage
|This Order covers the requirements and procedures on the establishment and operation of WTE facilities using MSW.|
Definition of Terms
|Definition of terms, for example, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) or Municipal Wastes shall refer to wastes produced from activities within local government units which include a combination of domestic wastes from residential, commercial, institutional and industrial wastes and street litters (DAO 2001-34).|
|This section specifies the requirements that WTE facilities shall comply with.
The requirements include conduct of environmental impact assessment in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 1586 Establishing an Environmental Impact Statement System, inclusion of the establishment and operation plan of WTE facilities in the 10-Year Solid Waste Management Plan to be prepared under RA No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, acquisition of Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Statement, compliance with environmental standards, and submission of a manual on quality assurance to EMB.
Operational Guidelines for WTE Facility
|This section specifies operational guidelines such as waste delivery control, storage facility, environmental monitoring, social accountability, and functions of the authority.|
Decommissioning or Abandonment
|Plans for the decommissioning or abandonment of WTE facilities shall be submitted at least one year prior to the decommissioning or abandonment.|
Fines and Penalties
|In case of violation of the guidelines, the fines and penalties of the relevant laws and regulations (Presidential Decree No. 1586, RA No. 6969, RA No. 8479, RA No. 9003, and RA No.9275) shall apply mutatis mutandis.|
|Any establishment operating a WTE facility using MSW prior to the implementation of this DAO shall be given a one-year transition period, provided that such facility does not pose a threat to the public.|
This DAO is available at the following URL. It shall take effect 15 days after its publication in two newspapers of general circulation and upon submission of a copy thereof to the University of the Philippines Law Center.