By JUNE S. BLANCO
REP. Erico Aristotle Aumentado of Bohol’s 2nd District is bullish on producing energy from residual waste.
He met last week with a waste-to-energy expert to discuss where and how his constituency can participate.
Aumentado said waste-to-energy calls for the segregation of waste. Biodegradable waste can be fodder for biomass energy, or at least, can be turned into organic fertilizer. But, the solon quoted the expert, residuals can be turned into energy as well.
This, the solon said, is where his constituents can be motivated to better implemented Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Act.
Waste-to-energy is a two-pronged approach to contribute to mitigating climate change, he explained.
On top of pushing for zero waste at the household level, turning residuals to power means less bulk for landfills, savings in tipping fees and contribution to the longer lifespans of sanitary landfills.
The solon noted that once landfills are filled to capacity, a local government unit (LGU) operating it must look for another site to contain residual waste. Bohol may be the country’s tenth largest island, but it does not have the luxury of space.
Aumentado said Bohol is basically agricultural and ecological. In order to feed the people, landfills and space-intensive solar panels must not compete for space with agricultural lands and the imperative forest cover. After all, he said, agriculture and tourism are the province’s economic drivers.
Power generated from residuals, the solon said, will also be the 2nd District’s contribution to locally-generated energy.
Aumentado pointed out that only the power industry approves of, and even requires redundancy. This is so that business will not come to a standstill when one source experiences breakdowns like what happened to the Tongonan Geothermal Power Plant in Leyte following the recent 6.5 earthquake and before that, Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
Leyte is Bohol’s main power source. Unless the latter produces more locally-generated power, it will always endure long rotational blackouts, he explained.
The downside to this is the slowing down of business, especially tourism, due to higher overhead costs in operation. After all, in most cases, water distribution is also dependent on power.
Aumentado has broached the topic to the 2nd District mayors in one of their meetings at the Quest Hotel in Cebu City. He said the mayors have committed their support to the waste-to-energy project by more stringent implementation of RA 9003.