Christian Manrique’s new post
This article was published in April at bez.es originally in Spanish with the headline Drowning in Garbage. Christian Manrique outlined that to perish under a pile of trash could become a reality if world’s population doesn’t do anything with its waist. If realistic measures are not taken, this apocalyptic scenario more linked with a science fiction film, would turn into an impossible habitat.
As Christian Manrique pointed out, exporting massive garbage tones from one Comunidad Autónoma to another or from one country to another, using waste incineration plant or unsustainable landfills affecting phreatic layers, should be something form the past. Nevertheless, it is an unsustainable system that can have harmful consequences to all of us. EU’s members and the rest of the world should implement realistic policies for waste treatment. As World Bank points out, by 2100 world population will be over 11 million inhabitants. This big amount of people will be producing 11 million garbage tones per day.
Important steps have already been taken, but are not enough. As Christian Manrique brought up, the European Parliament plenary passed on March 14, 2017, a legislative proposal within the Circular Economy Package (CEP) to strive a change. The proposal aims to move from the current 65% recycling and 10% waste dumped in landfills rates to 70% and 5% rates in each area.
This European Directive is of great importance and is also a big step towards environmental protection as well as for human health. The theory is music to our ears. However, the main problem lies within getting enough means and resources to reach those limits. Currently recycling represents less than 40% within the European Union boundaries and more than 65% of the waste produced ends up either in landfills or in incinerator plants. The situation is becoming extremely serious, but the lack of planning and measures to correct it is even worse.
This becomes more relevant in some countries like Spain, as Christian Manrique outlined, where last March the European Court of Justice (ECJ) dictated that the Spanish Government is failing to comply with European legislation for landfills and waste treatment. This meant that Spain was not complying neither with recycling rates nor with waste dump in landfills, due to its lack of needed measures, endangering human health and environment. A big wave of sanctions is flowing in the air.
The situation is not new. There are some examples, like Italy’s previous behavior who was sanctioned by the EU in December 2014 with a 48 million euros penalty fee. 198 of its landfills did not implement European legislation. Greece was in the same situation, forced to pay a 10 million euros penalty fee. Right to this time sanctions have been implemented by the EU in a very light way if compared to other economies like the American, but in the next years there is a strong decision to force countries to comply with them.