Government “accused of grossly manipulating recycling data”

Environmental association Zero has accused the government of grossly manipulating its recycling data – not only to receive “more money” but to “try and hide from citizens and the European Union the most evident collapse of public policies for the management of solid urban waste”.

Zero bases its accusation on a discrepancy between authorities involved of 269,000 tons.

It believes the recycling system’s figures are correct, and the government’s inflated.

Says Observador, APA – the State’s environmental agency – claims 1.29 million tons of waste was recycled in 2016, while data from Sistemas de Gestão de Resíduos Urbanos – the body that separates waste bound for landfill from waste that can be recycled – reorted a total of 1.03 million tons.

Zero suggests “a total lack of transparency” is at play in an attempt to cover the ‘real situation’: a country that cannot manage its waste effectively.

Zero adds that the “268,709 tons that APA considers to have been recycled were sent to landfill or incineration and that, for this, the Ministry of Environment will have been paid the TGR (tax due on waste management).

“Aside from receiving this money, the ministry was able to show a ‘better environmental performance”.

The ‘better performance’ signified eight percentage points more in the government’s official recycling tally, which came out at 38%.

In other words, if Zero is correct, the government’s true performance is more like 30%.

Activists have now challenged the environment ministry to come clean, to ensure that the strategic plan for Urban Waste (which is undergoing revision) can be based on “credible data”, says Observador.

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