In May 2009, a Waste Analysis and Characterization Study (WACS) was conducted in urban and sub-urban barangays of the city. The city’s MSW primarily comes from residential areas (56.46%), public market areas (4.45 %), from commercial districts (30.34%), and from other sources (8.75%). The average waste generation rate is 0.71 kg/capita/day and as of 2009, estimated waste generation is 297 tons/day (108,400 tons/year).
Existing collection system is contracted to a private company, Layson Co., which covers all 180 barangays utilizing 20 compactor trucks with specific routes and 11 trucks collecting specific types of waste from the public market. Currently, however, only 57 % of the total generated waste (170 tons/day) is brought to the disposal site. (Note: no data was provided for the remaining 43% uncollected waste, however, assumptions could be made that some wastes were indiscriminately disposed in water ways or in vacant lots and the rest were directly utilized as animal feeds, recovered by itinerant waste pickers or composted in small backyard composters).
In 2006, with technical assistance from GIZ-AHT SWM4LGUs Project, the city drafted an integrated site development plan for the 22-hectare Calahunan disposal site that included the closure and rehabilitation of the 10-hectare old open dump, operation of an improved transition disposal area within the old open dump and establishment of a 12-hectare sanitary landfill. The Closure and Rehabilitation Plan was submitted to EMB-6, and was granted an Authority-to-Close (ATC) No. 10-0607 on June 15, 2007.
In order to increase the recovery and recycling targets and at the same time not to displace the informal sector who derives their livelihood and subsistence through waste picking at the current dumpsite when the proposed sanitary will be implemented, Iloilo City together with GIZ/AHT integrated the wastepickers into the improvement plan of the disposal facility and drafted the wastepickers’ socio-economic development plan.
Material Resources Recovery, Recycling and Composting. In 2004, a building was constructed that houses the equipment for material recovery (MRF) and composting within the disposal site at Brgy. Calahunan. The in-house segregation units consist of input conveyor belt, drum screen and final conveyor units for combined mechanized-manual sorting that could process around 25 tons of the daily delivered 170 tons waste at the Calahunan site. However, during that time, the MRF was not fully utilized. Recovery of sellable materials such as cardboard, metals and hard plastics is largely influenced by more than 300 waste pickers who obtain their livelihood by waste picking at the active local dumpsite. Still, a large fraction of valuable materials such as organic and Alternative Fuels and Raw materials (AFR) was still disposed.
Testing of AFR recovery was started in September 2008 to increase material recovery out of the municipal solid waste stream and to clarify in what manner technical, social and financial enhancement could be achieved for the city’s SWM program and for the waste pickers. In the intervening time, AFR production takes place as a regular operation at the Calahunan site in partnership with HOLCIM Inc., a globally operating cement producer. So far, a total of 500 tons AFR were recovered and utilized already by HOLCIM.
Figure 2 demonstrates the huge potential for resource recovery, whereas it also indicates that more than 60% of the collected waste is organic in nature. Furthermore, a fraction of light density plastics and packages of around 20% (orange in the right pie of the diagram below) could be recovered as AFR.
In 2009, the expansion of the MRF area was implemented and an additional MRF facility was established. A baling machine for the baling of recovered AFR was also provided by GIZ/AHT SWM4LGUs Project for the wastepickers. The proposed composting of market waste is not yet started, however, a curing area for compost is already prepared and constructed as part of the plan to increase waste diversion and provide livelihood to the wastepickers.
Currently, the recovery rate reached by the city is only 4% or a total of 12 tons/day of recyclable materials out of the total waste generated. Within the submitted FS for the proposed sanitary landfill in Calahunan, the recovery rate and diversion rate is expected to increase up to 17% and 25% respectively where further measures for climate change mitigation are proposed to increase recovery rate of organic waste through composting or aerobic digestion.
Integration of the informal sector into the SWM system. The integration of the wastepickers into the improvement plan of the disposal facility and formulation of the wastepickers’ socio-economic development plan provided benefits and positive impacts for the waste pickers in terms of improved take-home pay, access to sanitation and water supply and protection from occupational hazards and risks, as well as for Iloilo City in terms of increasing the recovery rate. In order to enable the informal worker to be active in solid waste management over a long period, the waste pickers organized themselves into a membership-based organization accountable to their members and is now officially recognized with a legal identity with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on May 11, 2009 as USWAG Calahunan Livelihood Association, Inc. (UCLA). UCLA is now composed of more than 150 waste pickers who are governed by its Board of Directors. The operation of UCLA is currently funded using the membership fee, PhP 30.00 monthly contribution of each member, net profit sales of UCLA products and from partnership with HOLCIM from AFR recovery. Recently, with the help from private individuals and NGOs, the UCLA Center was established in Calahunan. Iloilo City also provided UCLA a recycling shop in one of its public markets.
To sustain integration of the association in the official SWM system, Iloilo City provided four social development personnel to assist in the daily operation and implementation of the socio-economic development plan for UCLA. To inspire further development, a special fund was extended to them by the GIZ headquarters in Eschborn, Germany, from the sector project “Recycling Partnerships” to support a 12-day training for UCLA. Twenty local trainers were tapped to provide knowledge and professional assistance on interesting topics ranging from basics about solid waste management, teamwork, bookkeeping and marketing, new recycling projects such as composting and gardening, AFR recovery, household charcoal briquette making from used papers, and briefing about the development plans of Iloilo City for Calahunan, even including sensitive topics such as responsible parenthood, conflict management, sanitation and occupational health. With additional resources coming from NGOs, more capacity development measures are pursued such as basic computer operation, communication improvement and basic English language.
Dumpsite Closure and Rehabilitation. The now 20-year old open dumpsite in Calahunan is still being used for the disposal of solid waste until such time that the proposed sanitary landfill is available. As part of operation of an improved transition disposal area, major improvements are implemented which include among others: soil covering from dredged silts, drainage canal, two leachate treatment ponds and strorage area for hazardous waste.
The city has provided a perimeter fence around the disposal facility, stationed a private blue guard and prevented animals in going inside the facility. The access road leading to the disposal area is now rehabilitated. Heavy duty vehicles/equipments were purchased to support the rehabilitation & development of the disposal area, including a weigh bridge. Building facilities and amenities were also provided such as the administration building and toilet.
Sanitary Landfill Establishment. In 2002, the city conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed construction of a sanitary landfill in Calajunan. The city was granted an Environmental Compliance Certificate 9906-011-213 in September 2002 by DENR/EMB.
In November 30, 2010, the city submitted the final copy of the Feasibility Study for its proposed sanitary landfill wherein “waste-to-energy” technology options for climate change mitigation, such as aerobic treatment of organic waste and AFR recovery, were integrated to support a sound operation of the proposed new landfill. From Figure 2, alone the treatment and reuse of these materials could reduce waste disposal in Iloilo by >80 %.