After all the hue and cry just before Christmas, the first consignments of a nine million euro deal to import as much as 60,000 tons of Italian rubbish into Portugal has suddenly been deemed ‘perfectly safe for landfill’.
The news was announced with the minimum of fanfare shortly after Christmas, at a point when activists and indeed everyone else in the country could have been safely considered to have their eyes off the ball.
The ministry of the environment announced that analysis of the rubbish – quarantined as a result of complaints by environmentalists (see: http://portugalresident.com/set%C3%BAbal%E2%80%99s-imported-toxic-waste-scandal-generates-heat) – ‘eliminated the scenario that material posing a danger to Portuguese citizens’ could be involved.
Investigations into the levels of Dissolved Organic Carbon did not indicate the dangers previously mooted, and various authorities – including Portuguese environmental agency APA – concluded that Setúbal’s landfill was “technically prepared” to receive the refuse.
The announcement, made in parliament on Tuesday elicited the riposte by MP for Os Verdes (the Green Party) Heloisa Apolónia that the government has allowed “the private logic of fundamental sectors, like those of waste disposal, to reign”.
It is a logic, she said, where economic issues come first and “environmental factors do not count” – stressing, said Jornal de Notícias, that “we absolutely cannot trust in others, meaning Italy”.
When this story first broke in November, media sources claimed that Italy had confirmed that the rubbish complied with all EU rules and regulations (see: http://portugalresident.com/italian-rubbish-possibly-60000-tons-of-it-to-be-buried-in-portugal).