Italy plans to incinerate more waste

The share of Italian waste being incinerated is too low and must be quadrupled for the country to comply with existing legislation, according to experts from industry, local authorities and the environment agency meeting in Milan recently.

ENS reports that despite making good progress in recycling and re-use, Italy is struggling to comply with self-imposed targets for reduction of waste landfilling. More than 70 percent of Italian waste is still being sent to landfill, in breach of national and European Union legislation. Under the so-called Ronchi decree of 1997, only inert and treated waste plus incinerator ash should have been allowed to go to landfills from January 2000. The deadline was subsequently put back to July 2001, and then again on August 22 as it became clear that it could not be met.

Italy currently incinerates only seven percent of its waste, against a European Union average of more than 20 percent. “There is wide consensus that, at a strategic level, incineration with energy recovery is the next big step we need to take,” an official told reporters. He added that a target share of 27 percent was seen as realistic in the medium term. The Italian environment ministry is said to be ready to issue new policy guidelines paving the way for a significant increase in waste incineration, and empowering local authorities to manage waste as they see fit. Green Party Member of Parliament Marco Lion said in a statement today that a government move towards incineration would show “contempt for the environment and public health.” Italy’s Green Party blames the government for failing to put into place an “adequate system of waste recovery, recycling and disposal” in order to achieve the landfill target.

New provisions allowing local authorities to overcome public opposition to incinerators may become necessary if incineration is to make rapid progress, the official pointed out. The need to increase “social acceptance” of incineration emerged as a key element in a pro-incineration study released last winter. Although expensive scrubbers and filters can reduce toxic emissions to below legal limits, they also concentrate toxins in ash. Landfilled ash and contaminated filters can pose greater threats to groundwater than the original wastes.

Ano da Publicação: 2002
Fonte: Warmer Bulletin Enews #35-2002
Autor: Kit Strange - Editor, Warmer Bulletin
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