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Boracay eyes waste-to-energy facilities amid excess garbage

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PHILSTAR

BORACAY authorities are considering a waste-to-energy facility as a long-term solution to the tourist destination’s garbage problem which has contributed to state agencies recommending its closure starting April 26.

“It is going to be entered into by the local government and the private sector,” said Jonas R. Leones, undersecretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, on the sidelines of briefing to announce the agency’s rehabilitation plans during the island’s closure to tourists.

“We were informed that the local government has already talked to someone. They already have a potential partnership,” he said.

He said the capacity of the proposed power plant will depend on the waste being generated by the island, which he estimated at around 90 to 115 tons per day.

He said the island is able to haul out only about 30 to 40 tons daily, leaving a mounting garbage problem that could potentially render the island’s waters unsafe for residents and tourists.

There is a corresponding number of megawatts that can be generated from the excess waste, he said.

Should the project materialize, Boracay will add to the growing number of local governments that are opting to adopt waste-to-energy as a solution to their garbage problem.

For instance, Davao City is planning to build a waste-to-energy facility that can produce around 12 megawatts (MW) of electricity once completed in the next four years. The project is planned to accommodate 600 tons of waste per day. Cebu City and Clark, Pampanga are reportedly also considering similar technologies.

Davao City is looking at the first quarter of 2022 as the target completion date of the project, making it one of the early advocates of waste-to-energy technology. Its project will be partly funded in part by 5.013-billion yen in official development assistance from the Japanese government, and in part from possible private sector investors.

Boracay’s garbage problem prompted the DENR, Department of Tourism and Department of Interior and Local Government to recommend the island’s closure to visitors, a move affirmed by the President.

The rehabilitation of Boracay is set for six months, although the duration may be shortened depending on the progress of the revival efforts after what the DENR called “many years of unbridled expansion and the influx of mass tourism.” — Victor V. Saulon