Jul 17, 2021 @ 18:53
Environmentalists ask SC to junk DENR order allowing waste-to-energy facilities
Environmental advocates have asked the Supreme Court (SC) to nullify a Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) order allowing the establishment and operation of municipal facilities that burn waste to produce energy.
The petition for certiorari, which named Secretary Roy Cimatu as respondent, was filed by EcoWaste Coalition (EWC), Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS), and five individuals.
It also sought an environmental protection order (EPO) to immediately stop the implementation of the Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2019-21, or the “Guidelines Governing Waste To Energy (‘WtE’) Facilities for the Integrated Management of Municipal Solid Waste.”
The petition argued that the DENR order violated several environmental laws, such as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, and the Clean Air Act.
The environmentalists, represented by lawyers from the Philippine Earth Justice Center (PEJC), said in a statement that the order “will result in grave violations of the people’s Right to Health and the Right to a Balanced and Healthful Ecology under the Constitution.”
They argued that the DENR violated the public trust doctrine when it issued and implemented DAO 2019-21.
Ecowaste Coalition senior policy officer Lievj Alimangohan said the implementation of the order “will cause irreparable harm to human health and the environment.”
Petitioner Coleen Salamat, who works with grassroots organizations on issues regarding waste and plastic, said WTE facilities “are false solutions and a tricky term to greenwash.”
“This justifies the production of plastics when we should be reducing and eliminating it at source. In the middle of a global pandemic, this will just add to the persistent health and climate crisis we are facing,” Salamat added.
Rei Panaligan of the Plastic-Free Pilipinas Project, another individual petitioner, argued that WTE facilities “merely transform the waste into other harmful substances, such as dioxins and furans.”
“Dioxins and furans are highly toxic substances that cause cancer, diabetes, and chloracne. Also, WtE facilities emit high volumes of greenhouse gasses that accelerate climate change. This is why we really need to immediately stop the implementation of the DENR’s WTE Guidelines,” he said. #