Rubbish up, recycling down – Portugal definitely ‘in a mess’

“Nothing’s working”, reports TSF radio. Despite all the publicity campaigns, “recycling is not having the desired results. Environment agency APA is calling for urgent measures”.

The bottom line quandary is that landfill rubbish is increasing, landfill sites are at a premium, and public awareness of the problem is simply not catching up.

APA’s latest report reveals that for the last four years Portuguese households have just been steadily producing more rubbish, while reducing their recycling by as much as 9%.

This suggests targets for 2020, and beyond, simply won’t be met.

Says Rui Berkemeier of environmental association ZERO, it’s time for a “whole paradigm shift” – particularly as the authorities are understood to be “manipulating data” (as dismal as it is) by counting waste going into landfill as “recycled””.

“The environment ministry continues to run with ecopoints – a system with endless limitations”, he told the station, when instead they should be changing to a door-to-door recycling service, which should have been brought in “decades ago”.

“We don’t just have a system that doesn’t work”, he said. “We have one which the authorities are trying to make look better, in an artificial way” (by manipulating data).

What are the alternatives? APA stresses that “alternatives must be found to encourage households/ citizens to separate more waste”.

One of APA’s proposals, says TSF, is to get people “actively participating” in waste selection possibly by offering financial incentives for those who do, and penalising those who don’t.

Nothing has been decided yet, but as TSF explains, 2020 and its various waste management targets are only two years away.

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