Planning a Centralized Hazardous Waste Treatment Facility -- An Operator's Perspective

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Courtesy of Weston Solutions, Inc


The rapid industrial development of the Philippines and the implementation of the Toxic Substance and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act (1992) is causing an urgent need for hazardous waste treatment facilities. Estimates of hazardous waste volumes in metropolitan Manila are rising from 232,000 tons/year in 1995 to 659,000 tons/year in the year 2010. Mr. Walter Vergara of the World Bank at the 5th International Symposium on Operating European Hazardous Waste Management Facilities stated, the issue of industrial pollution was the most urgent in the industrializing economies of Asia. Here, pollution and environmental degradation caused by industry continued to be major concerns , while compliance by industry generally leaves much to be desired.

The availability of commercial hazardous waste treatment facilities is not only a critical environmental issue, but also an essential economic factor for nations with rapidly growing industries. Most world-class manufacturers wishing to locate in the Philippines will expect a hazardous waste management program to be in place a program that is economical and that meets international standards, especially for ISO 14000 considerations. In addition, without the means to treat and dispose of hazardous waste, it is not possible to enforce environmental legislation.

The management of hazardous wastes in the Philippines is regulated under Republic Act (RA) 6969 Toxic Substance and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act, DAO 29 Title II (Toxic Chemical Substances) and Title II (Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes). These regulations establish an order of preference for management of hazardous waste: (1) minimization, (2) recycling, (3) treatment, and (4) landfilling. One other important factor that is not directly discussed in the regulations but is implied by necessity is education. Most industries in the Philippines are small manufacturing plants that are not aware of the environmental hazards associated with the chemicals they use or the toxicity of the wastes they generate. The following observations describe the current situation in the Philippines:

§ Most firms do not have a hazardous waste management plan. § Most firms do not have proper hazardous waste segregation, storage, or accumulation areas. § Most of the hazardous wastes are commingled with the solid wastes. § Most waste accumulation areas exhibit contamination of the underlying soils.
The development of centralized hazardous waste treatment facilities will both assist the economic growth of industries and provide the proper treatment and disposal of waste. In addition, operators of hazardous waste treatment facilities can and should provide assistance to the waste generators in educating their work force and thus minimizing environmental impacts and reducing treatment and disposal costs.

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