Achaia waste project to be model
A public-private partnership (PPP) for the construction of a waste processing facility in the prefecture of Achaia in the Peloponnese - a model for another four projects elsewhere - got the rubber stamp on Thursday from a state committee.
"In the midst of such a deep crisis, this is a message of optimism, that some projects can get off the ground without the problem of securing financing from banks, using the method of PPP, so that the public debt is not burdened any further, at least not directly," Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis said following talks with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and Environment Minister Evangelos Livieratos.
The Achaia facility, which is to process 150,000 tons of garbage annually under the management of Patra municipal authorities, is a blueprint for similar units in Western Macedonia, the central and southern Peloponnese, and Serres. European Union funding is to cover 60 percent of the cost of all these projects.
Plans to build a similar facility in Attica have stalled several times due to the failure of local authorities to submit the required application.
In a report published earlier this week by the European Commission's environment directorate, Greece ranked at the bottom of the list of the 27 eurozone member states for its performance on waste management. Citing the absence of reliable statistics in Greece, the report concluded nonetheless that "an undercapacity for the treatment of municipal waste is likely, as the majority of landfills do not conform with EU legislation."
Greece - along with Italy and Cyprus which also have debt problems -- were flagged as the worst offenders in terms of offering incentives to local authorities to divert waste from landfills.
Reacting to the findings in the report, European Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik expressed dismay at the fact that "many member states are still landfilling huge amounts of municipal waste despite better alternatives and despite structural funds being available to finance better options." According to the report, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have the most advanced and well-implemented recycling systems in the EU, resulting in less than 5 percent of their waste going to landfills.