Global Partnership on Waste Management


Submitted by Development Academy of the Philippines

(Note: The Development Academy of the Philippines did not prioritize waste streams)

Summary of information
Highest priority waste streams
Highest priority areas of capacity building
1. Technical and scientific
2. Financial
3. Policy and regulatory
Narrative summary
The Development Academy of the Philippines’ responses to the needs assessment survey show that capacity-building for waste management is most needed in technical and financial areas. The responses suggest that low-cost and efficient technologies for treating waste streams such as hazardous waste should be introduced. Public-private partnerships to procure funds and waste management facilities should also be considered. The responses also suggest that the perspective of local governments should be considered in addition to that of the national level. Not all local governments have the technical capacity to undertake waste management activities, while many face difficulties due to conflicting policies or a lack of coordination between departments and agencies. Therefore, although an institutional structure for waste management exists in the Philippines, it needs to be evaluated and improved.

Municipal solid waste (MSW)
In the Philippines, MSW is addressed by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (2000) (Republic Act no. 9003). Municipalities and cities must additionally implement solid waste management plans. However, only approximately 70% of MSW generated (30,000 tons per day nationwide; 8,000 tons per day in Metropolitan Manila) is collected and treated. Uncollected MSW is dumped into rivers, lagoons and sewers, causing water management issues such as flooding and pollution.

In light of incomprehensive waste management, technical capacity-building is ranked as an area of high priority. Systems of waste characterization, collection and transport require improvement in terms of equipment and guidelines (such as a waste analysis and characterization survey). Different waste streams found within MSW, such as construction/demolition waste and marine litter, need to be addressed. Existing dumpsites, especially if in environmentally critical areas, must be immediately rehabilitated. To improve technical capacities for MSW management, local government units will need to overcome financial obstacles, given that large-scale waste management efforts, such as sanitary landfills, require construction. Contracting activities to the private sector or the establishment of public-private partnerships are valid options.

New technological and financial support should then be implemented into more comprehensive policies. Only 338 out of 1,610 cities in the Philippines have MSW management plans in operation. Clear roles should be delineated to institutions such as the Department of Education and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. New strategies should also not neglect the social dimension of MSW management. Informal recyclers and rag-pickers could be organized more efficiently, while locally developed waste treatment technologies should be given attention.

Industrial waste
Industrial waste management in the Philippines is also covered by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. As with other solid waste streams covered by the Act, technological and financial support is needed, in order for treatment to be cleaner and more comprehensive. However, as the composition and treatment required of industrial waste is different to that of MSW, further regulation is also a priority. The responses suggest the drafting of an Extended Producers Responsibility Bill, so as to compel industrial waste generators to further participate in waste management efforts.

Hazardous waste
The technical capacity in managing hazardous waste in the Philippines could be much improved. There are currently no large-scale treatment and disposal facilities for hazardous wastes in the country.  There is much room for the development of clean or energy-efficient technologies, and (low-cost) non-combustion processes for hazardous waste disposal have been suggested as a focal area for capacity-building. Technology for the waste stream will require, first and foremost, a source of funds. Additionally, legislation is underdeveloped regarding hazardous waste. The country would benefit from developing regulations on hazardous and radio-active waste management, including the banning of consumer products containing certain hazardous chemicals.

Mining is a specific sector in the Philippines in which better hazardous waste management is necessary. In the years 1990-1999, 131 million tons of metallic mine waste were generated alongside 136 million tons of mine tailings. There exists a People’s Small-Scale Mining Act (1991) regulating mining waste, but many (small and large-scale) mining firms have not adhered to regulations. Enforcement capacity must therefore be strengthened. Legislation also requires updating to reflect emerging waste management issues, such as the safe closure and rehabilitation of abandoned or inactive mines.

Healthcare waste
In the Philippines, technical and financial capacity in the management of healthcare waste requires strengthening. Safe non-combustion technologies for the treatment and disposal of healthcare waste (as to avoid pollution in breach of the Clean Air Act) need to be acquired. Skilled human resources for healthcare waste management are also in demand. As financial capacity is weak, encouragement of the private sector to participate in research and development programmes for healthcare waste management is suggested. Non-mercury-based healthcare equipment, for example, can be developed as a means of hazardous waste prevention. In addition, policies need to be developed with regards to the monitoring of healthcare waste; policies need to be complimented by enforcement mechanisms. Finally, awareness of healthcare waste hazards within society is low; educational campaigns on waste management should be implemented. Healthcare facilities and schools need to be targeted.

A general strengthening of all areas is needed with regards to e-waste management in the Philippines. The total number of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) disposed in the country between 1995 and 2010 amounts to approximately 39 million units. As there is no separate policy framework regarding e-waste, the disposed units are treated as part of MSW, and are taken to the same landfills or illegally dumped. The development of an e-waste policy framework needs to be supported by adequate facilities for technologies such as e-waste recycling. The costs of these facilities are high (an Integrated Recycling Facility will cost approximately USD 8.2 million), and the country will require financial support. Long-term needs include the launching of a public awareness campaign in order to promote segregation of e-waste from other MSW. It also needs to be made clear which institutions at both national and local levels will be responsible for policy implementation.

Waste plastics
In the Philippines, the management of waste plastics is addressed by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. Waste plastics are classified as recyclable material and readily-combustible. However, the implementation and enforcement of current policies are ranked as areas that most require capacity-building. Firstly, there are no clear national guidelines on how to implement recycling or waste prevention. Standards therefore vary between municipalities and barangays (districts/wards). While some local governments have banned the use of Styrofoam as packaging material, others lack an understanding of the environmental damage caused by waste plastics. Local governments may also lack plastic recycling facilities, or infrastructure to practice waste collection. Guidelines for the management of waste plastics thus need to be developed; importantly, they must be realistic and achievable at local level. Secondly, a conflict of interest exists between advocates of banning (certain uses of) plastic and the plastic industry. A compromise for a clear policy direction is required; economic instruments including public-private partnerships need to be used to encourage waste minimization.

Organic waste
In the Philippines, policies on organic waste need to be greatly improved. Raw sewage is often dumped in highly-populated or touristic coastal areas of the country, causing dangerous water pollution levels. Pollution controls (point-source and non-point-source) require development, and will need to be consolidated into environmental policy. Existing waste management policy also requires organization and improvement in coherence, especially as, according to the responses, conflicting directions are given. With regards to organic waste, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act prioritizes composting; the Renewable Energy Act prioritizes its use as an energy source, while the Organic Agriculture Act also gives directions. Aside from concerns on policy, financial and institutional issues also need to be resolved. Not all local governments or barangays in the country have solid waste management committees, and not all have access to composting technology. Public-private partnerships may be able to provide an improved source of funding to organic waste management technologies. Hence, while clear policymaking is paramount, other concerns will need to be addressed.

Waste agricultural biomass (WAB)
There is great potential for the use of WAB as a resource in the Philippines. An estimated 6 million tons of abandoned WAB lie in the country, and it is common practice to burn WAB. Therefore above all, waste generators need to be educated. Low-cost technologies for the conversion of WAB into an energy resource can be demonstrated and developed in the industrial and agricultural sector. Existing WAB should also be collected. Nevertheless, local governments do not see the use of WAB as a priority; the areas of, for example, MSW are instead prioritized. Funds need to be made available, while a policy framework needs to be developed. As with organic waste, existing policies are fragmented and conflicting, with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, the Renewable Energy Act and the Organic Agriculture Act providing different guidelines for the treatment of WAB. Hence, while stakeholders must be made aware of the potential of WAB to be used as a resource, other concerns will also need to be addressed.