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Algarve mayors call for changes to the region’s waste management

Earlier today, Monday January 6th, the municipalities belonging to AMAL, the Algarve Intermunicipal Community, met with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Inês Santos Costa, in order to discuss issues such as bioresidues, selective collection of rubbish, and the introduction of systems such as domestic composting.

The Algarvean mayors want a “new stage” in the separation of waste and discussed a possible “joint response” at the level of AMAL to tackle the region’s waste management issues. This is a challenge that, according to AMAL, implies “the realization of a considerable financial effort by the municipalities, assuming that individual contribution of each citizen and the communities can be counted on when implementing measures”.

For the mayors of the Algarve, this “new stage” involves mainly the improvement of the process of separation and channelling of waste for recycling, landfill, and transformation into organic compost.

According to António Pina, president of AMAL, “this project could lead to a joint response and thus move on in a region of the country that is already a pioneer in environmental actions, especially the fight against climate change. There are obviously many who would disagree with this statement though.

This meeting, which was also attended by officials from APA (Portuguese Environment Agency) and CCDR Algarve (Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission) also served to confirm the need to implement initiatives aimed at meeting the national targets set by the EU framework.

AMAL’s initiative claims to want to “fit in with environmental concerns arising from the need to boost a new regional attitude towards climate change, and the impacts of rising cases of desertification and drought”. However, the municipal solid waste kingpin in the Algarve is currently Algar, a company owned 56% by private parties (Urbaser and Mota-Engil) and 44% by the Municipalities. With this in mind, it will be interesting to see whether conflict will arise between the municipalities and the private entities who control Algar in moving towards AMAL’s new goals.