FOLLOWING a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the city, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Environment Management Bureau (EMB), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and Integrated Recycling Industries (IRI), Baguio has inaugurated its new e-waste treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facility in Bakakeng Central village this week.
Based on earlier TSDs established by the DENR and UNIDO in Malabon and Caloocan in the lowlands, the Bakakeng TSD facility is the first of its kind in Northern Luzon, and is geared and filled with trained personnel capable of properly dismantling and taking apart electronic scrap and waste.
E-waste, or electronic waste, requires a specific handling compared to normal solid and residual waste, as electronic components contain non-biodegradable and even potentially toxic materials such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and polybrominated diphenyls (PBDEs), both of which are a significant enough concern that the DENR has specific management programs for them, which Baguio City signed onboard for late last year in November.
As part of the preparation to launch the e-waste facility, which is attached to the already-existing materials recovery facility (MRF) of the barangay, the city conducted hands-on training for e-waste dismantling and disposal for personnel both from Bakakeng itself and from the greater Baguio area earlier on September 14 and 15.
However, the TSD is still set to undergo changes as operational costs and sustainability concerns are tackled, as well as the expected increase in e-waste intake once the facility is in full operation.
Currently, the TSD design is only capable of processing a maximum of 10 tons of e-waste a year, which is well above Baguio’s average output, but may prove insufficient if the city begins processing e-waste from neighbors and outside territories as well.
According to Zero Waste Baguio President Maria Bugasto, earlier collection efforts turned up nearly half of the TSD’s capacity worth of e-waste.
“The first time we did it, we were able to collect more than three tons of waste, then the second time, 1.3 tons. But it’s not enough. People are still asking, where do we take our (e)-waste?” Bugasto said.