ENR airs concern over lack of disposal facility for ODS waste

Published by rudy Date posted on May 17, 2014

WITH the carbon credit market down, the Philippine Ozone Desk of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’s Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) is faced with the challenge of disposing waste from ozone-depleting substances (ODS) across the country.

The Philippines, a signatory to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) has only one collection and storage facility and still has no disposal facility of its own for ODS waste.

The Delsa Chemicals and Multi-Products Inc. maintains a collection and storage facility in Muntinlupa City, but there is no facility for the disposal of ODS waste.

The destruction of ODS costs about $6 per kilogram, excluding transport costs. ODS waste needs to be “exported” to countries with ODS disposal facilities. Charged against the government, this would entail additional costs, funding of which would burden the DENR, they said.

Under the Montreal Protocol, the Philippines is committed to eliminating or phasing out ODS.

As part of the phase-out plan, the DENR-EMB is targeting to phase-out

HCFCs by 2040. It has successfully phased-out CFCs and other ODS in 2010 but recent survey and monitoring conducted by the DENR last year revealed that there are car air conditioning and chiller service centers, as well as dealers that still sell CFCs, indicating possible smuggling of the banned substances.

ODS include coolants or cooling agents widely used in car air conditioners and chillers for centralized air-conditioning units in malls and other big establishments. Leaks in car air-conditioning systems and chillers because of poor maintenance cause the emission of the ODS, which forms part of the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

“We are in the process of studying a possible sustainable disposal system because the carbon credit market is down,” says Ella Deocadiz, program manager of the DENR-EMB Philippine Ozone Desk (POD).

One solution being eyed is to encourage investors to venture into disposal of ODS. Big cement plants, she said, have the capability to venture into ODS disposal.

Currently, Delsa Chemicals holds about seven to eight metric tons of ODS that need to be disposed.

Onofre Escota, project evaluation officer and monitoring officer of the POD also said that there are 30 metric tons of CFCs or Chlorofluorocarbons seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in 2003. The said CFCs, the importation of which had been banned since January 2010, are now considered waste and needs to be disposed properly, he said.

He said there is no interested buyer for equivalent carbon credits for the Philippines to dispose of the seized CFCs and other banned ODS “at no cost to the government.”

The POD is conducted a National Media Workshop on Ozone and Climate Linkages in Coron, Palawan, from May 14 to 17 as part of its information campaign for the implementation of the HCFC or hydrochlorofluorocarbon Phase-Out Plan under the Montreal Protocol. –Jonathan L. Mayuga, Businessmirror

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