A Publication on World Pulp, Paper & Allied Industry


Special Report


Status of Environmental Protection and Control in Philippine Pulp and paper Mills
by Rosario B. Bantayan* and Dr. Ramon A. Razal**


This study was conducted to determine the different waste management practices of Philippine pulp and paper mills. There were 22 respondents to the survey consisting of 1 integrated pulp and paper mill, two non-integrated pulp mills (abaca) and 19 non-integrated paper mills. The study also looked into the different environmental rules and regulations of the government that the pulp and paper industry must comply with in order to operate.

Results showed that each pulp and paper mill had an existing waste management program. The pulp and paper mills were equipped with wastewater treatment facilities consisting of a combination of different primary and secondary treatment processes which were mostly end-of-pipe treatments. The sludge resulting from the wastewater treatment was dewatered, thickened and disposed in a dedicated landfill. Control of air pollution was also practiced but the technologies used and practices employed varied from mill to mill. Solid wastes which included generated mill garbage were either landfilled, recycled and/or burned. The estimated investment made by the company for their waste management program also varied from mill to mill depending on the financial capacity of the company. The factors affecting the choice of pollution control measures depended upon the characteristics of the wastewater discharge, the capacity of the mill, products produced and the desired level of treatment acceptable to the government.


Among current environmental issues, pollution is of major importance in terms of the impact on people’s health and their living and working conditions regardless of the origin or source of pollutants. The indiscriminate discharge of untreated wastewater, improper disposal of solid waste and air pollution pose great risks to public health and cause significant welfare losses. Welfare losses include loss or reduction in food supply, recreation, economic and tourism opportunities, aesthetic values, cost of clean-up and other undesirable changes to the environment (Gloria, 1999).

The Philippine pulp and paper industry, although a major player in the country’s economic recovery program, is one such industry whose production processes generate solid, liquid and gaseous waste materials. These waste materials are characterized by the presence of pollutants like suspended solids (TSS), soluble organics (BOD), heavy metals, particulate matter and other known contaminants which adversely affect the environment. To contain these known pollutants will require a significant investment in pollution control technologies (Freeman, 1995).

The Philippines is replete with environmental rules and regulations necessary to bring about improvements in environmental quality, protect public health and welfare, natural ecology and reduce damage to public as well as private property. As such, pulp and paper mills must invest in appropriate pollution control technologies or adopt measures to ensure that the overall environmental impact is minimized.

This study was designed to determine the waste management practices of Philippine pulp and paper mills. It has made an assessment of the extent to which the industry has complied with environmental laws by documenting the pollution control practices employed by the pulp and paper industry. Furthermore, the study also looked into the factors affecting the choice of pollution control technology by a pulp and paper mill.

Objectives of the Study

In general the study was undertaken to assess the status of pollution control in Philippine pulp and paper mills.

  • The specific objectives were to:

  • a) determine the pollution control practices adopted by Philippine pulp and paper mills; and

  • b) determine the factors affecting the mill’s choice of pollution control measure.

Profile of the Philippine Pulp and Paper Industry

There are a total of 37 pulp and paper mills operating in the Philippines. Only one of these mills is an integrated pulp and paper mill. Of the 36 non-integrated mills, five have facilities solely for the production of pulp while the remainder manufacture a wide variety of paper and paper-based products. Seventeen pulp and paper mills registered with the Board of Investments have a total project cost of P20.3 billion (BOI, 2000).

The industry as a whole has a combined capacity of 786,600 tons per year (tpy) of various grades of paper and paperboard and 16,725 tpy of abaca pulp and 190,000 tpy of deinked pulp, mechanical pulp and kraft pulp. According to Aragon (1995), the demand for paper and paperboard is greatly influenced by economic growth, increase in school population and population growth. TAPPIP (undated) reports that the annual per capita consumption of paper is 13 kilograms which is way below the average of the world’s consumption of 43 kgs. The heaviest consumers and producers of paper are concentrated in Manila and other highly urbanized areas.

Recycled fibers or waste paper has become the primary raw material for papermaking in the Philippines due to the inadequate supply of local wood pulp and the prohibitive cost of imported wood pulp. Most local mills process and utilize wastepaper. There are even local mills that are utilizing 100% waste paper while the rest combine recycled fiber with imported wood pulp at a predetermined ratio depending on the quality of the end product. Those producing containerboards are heavy users of wastepaper with an estimated utilization ranging from 85-100% (Aragon, 1995). The country imported waste paper from USA, Singapore, Germany, Hongkong, Canada, Europe and the rest of Asia. Table 1 shows the products manufactured by each pulp and paper mill surveyed and their raw material requirements.

The industry employs over 1.4 million workers (direct and indirect) with a total of P2.4 billion annual compensation (Pamatmat, 1999). Indirect workers include waste paper collectors, dealers and junk shop owners supplying waste paper to local mills.



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