To address waste disposal problems and water pollution issues, El Nido’s local government unit has put up a state-of-the-art sewage and solid waste treatment plant. 

The facility, which is located at Barangay Villa Libertad, is the Philippines’ first-ever sewage and solid waste treatment plant (SSWTP)—designed to treat wastewater, septage, and biodegradable waste. It covers the majority of the municipality’s 18 barangays. 

The treatment plant is powered by renewable energy sources, specifically solar and biogas, harnessing it through the processing of biodegradable solid waste and sludge through anaerobic digestion. 

In a ceremony held on Saturday (April 2), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) commended El Nido’s new structure, which was inaugurated in September of last year.

According to Environment Undersecretary Juan Miguel Cuna, the town’s SSWTP sets a good example for other local government units (LGU), particularly in keeping up with, observing, and implementing the Clean Water Act of 2004 and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Acting Environment Secretary Jim Sampulna also lauded El Nido for the establishment of the plant, which he says demonstrates what could be accomplished if LGUs work together. 

“What is marvelous about this is that it’s funded locally… That is because the governor and the mayor are working together. I hope all LGUs replicate Palawan,” he shared. 

The P490-million facility was established through the collaboration of the provincial government of Palawan and the municipality of El Nido. Palawan Water, an office created by Gov. Jose Alvarez, provided technical services free of charge, reducing costs by P170 million. 

“We want to retain the [recognition of being] the best and friendliest island in the world. That’s the main reason why we invested in this,” Alvarez explained. 

The new SSWTP will work by collecting sewage from businesses and households through a network of underground pipelines. The waste will then be stored in cluster collector tanks and transported to the treatment plant through an off-grid solar power system. After that, the treatment process will begin. 

Palawan Water Program Director Engineer Michelle Cardena said 10 establishments are now connected to the treatment plant and by yearend, it will grow to 1,000. Currently, the treatment plant is not charging for treating wastewater, however, the collection will start by June or July once rates are finalized. 

Besides the treatment plant, El Nido is also taking other preventative measures against water pollution. To prove its commitment, it signed a pledge to protect and preserve the water resources of the town on Saturday.

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Image credit: PIO Palawan’s Official Facebook Page