Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Payatas now a tourist destination

The Philippine Star

From a symbol of death and poverty, the Payatas dump in Quezon City has been dramatically transformed into model garbage-to-power generation facility, making the area a major tourist destination in the country.

Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr. led city officials in welcoming last week a large delegation from the People’s Republic of Vietnam, all of them eager to see how the city government transformed a mountain of garbage into a controlled dump facility.

The Vietnamese delegation was among the hundreds of foreign and local tourists who have visited the facility since its conversion last year.

Among those who visited the site were foreign dignitaries, representatives from local and international non-government organizations, students and local government officials who want to replicate the program in their respective localities.

The foul odor emanating from the accumulated methane is now being extracted and converted to generate electricity in the 12-hectare facility.

Landscaping of the Payatas would soon transform the area into a park.

Ret. Army Col. James Jaymalin, chief of the Payatas Operation Group, said the energization of the old Payatas site benefits at least 33 scavenger families who earn an average P250 to P300 a day.

The city government had converted Payatas in compliance with the Ecological and Solid Waste Management Act, which extended the life of the dump for at least two years.

The city government initiated the methane extraction project with the Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) last year.

Jaymalin said the extraction initially intended to contain gas buildup and prevent future accidents in the area. Methane is a highly combustible gas.

"However, the PNOC found out that there was enough gas to generate electricity within the area, so the city government decided to tap that energy," he said.

The Quezon City government is the first local government in the country to extract methane and use it to generate electricity.

The city government also signed a memorandum of agreement with Union Cement for the collection of used tires embedded in the heaps of garbage in the dump.

The tires will be used to process high quality cement. – Perseus Echeminada

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