By Chito Chavez
With the worsening flooding situation, the Quezon City Council has released new regulations that penalize food establishments illegally dumping used cooking oil and grease trap waste in the city’s sewage system.
Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte led the approval of Ordinance No. 2691, S-2018 as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday inspected restaurants in the city believed to be the source of grease that had been clogging the drainage system and causing floods in the past few days.
She said that grease contaminates waterways and clogs the drainage if not properly disposed and treated.
“It is the policy of the Quezon City government to prevent or minimize the health hazards on ground and water pollution caused by the improper disposal, transport, storage, and reuse of used cooking oil and grease trap waste by food establishments,” the vice mayor said, quoting the ordinance filed by 3rd District Councilor Allan Benedict Reyes.
Ordinance No. 2691 or “The Used/Waste Cooking Oil and Grease Trap Waste Regulation Ordinance” provides new policies in the transport, storage, reuse, recycling, reprocessing or disposal of used cooking oil and grease by local restaurants and similar food establishments.
The ordinance strictly prohibits and penalizes non-segregation, illegal disposal and selling, and collection and transport by unauthorized entities of used cooking oil and grease trap waste.
It mandates that all used cooking oil and grease trap waste shall only be transported, stored, reused, recycled, reprocessed, treated, and disposed by waste transporters or Treatment, Storage, and Disposal (TSD) facilities accredited by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and registered with the city’s Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department (EPWMD).
Moreover, all food establishments, TSD facilities and its service providers are required to secure Environmental Clearance from EPWMD to ensure compliance to Republic Act No. 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990.
Violation of any provisions of the subject ordinance entails a fine of P2,000 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second, and P5,000 for the third offense plus revocation of business permit.
Vehicles, tools, and other equipment used in the illegal disposal and transport of waste cooking oil and grease trap waste will also be impounded, the ordinance stated.
In the inspection of flood-prone areas in Quezon City, MMDA operatives and members of the Quezon City Pollution Control Division discovered that many food and commercial establishments were not using grease traps to collect wastewater, including used oil and grease; food waste and grease are instead being disposed directly to the sewage, causing flash floods.
In 2015, MMDA also discovered tons of grease and sludge from restaurants clogging the drainage system of Tomas Morato Avenue, one of the most flood-prone areas in Quezon City.