The Cebu City government, through its Joint Venture Selection Committee, is looking for bidders to match or improve on New Sky Energy Philippines, Inc.’s unsolicited proposal for a waste-to-energy (WTE) facility with a processing capacity of 800 metric tons of garbage a day.
In a report by BusinessWorld, the committee has granted New Sky Energy an original proponent status, which paves the way for a bidding.
The proposed WTE facility will process the city’s solid waste using grate incineration technology, which heats up non-recyclable waste to create steam which will generate electricity.
Interested parties have roughly a month to submit their respective competing bids.
Last year, the Department of Energy (DOE) earlier released a draft policy aimed at enhancing the development of WTE facilities across the country, qualifying biomass as a renewable energy source.
However, environmental experts said that the planned WTE project would be detrimental to both the environment and public health.
In a report by SunStar Cebu, Dr. Jorge Emmanuel, a former chief technical adviser on global environment projects of the United Nations Development Program said that WTE incinerators emit extremely toxic chemicals like dioxins and furans, which could cause an increased risk of tumors, cancer, asthma, and other fatal diseases.
He added that these by-products don’t easily dissipate as they remain in the environment for roughly 500 years.
Meanwhile, Atty. Nikka Oquias from the Philippine Earth Justice Center said that the construction of an incineration facility for a WTE facility is prohibited under Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act. Oquias questioned the accuracy of the data on the waste composition in Cebu City, as well as the lack of public hearing for the project.
But representatives of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said that the project is environmentally sound and has undergone enough feasibility study which includes its impact on the city’s environment and health.
WTE, also known as biomass energy, converts non-recyclable waste materials into heat, electricity or fuel.