Portugal’s government said on Monday it would take urgent measures to deal with the problem of “foreign garbage,”media reported. A Reuters report revealed two weeks ago that a private landfill in the northern Portuguese village of Sobrado was receiving waste from European countries.
Some 330,000 tonnes of “amber list” waste, including waste containing hazardous substances that requires prior approval, arrived in Portugal from abroad in 2018, up 53 percent from 2017, according to APA, Portugal’s environmental agency.
About 110,000 tons of waste ended up in landfill, with the rest recycled and converted into resources.
According to APA, Italy is the country that sends the most waste to Portuguese landfills in 2018, but the waste also comes from Malta, Ireland, Greece and other countries.
Infuriated local residents have rallied to create their own environmental campaign against landfills, organize protests and launch petitions, with one group even planning to sue Portugal’s environment ministry.
Under pressure, Portugal’s environment ministry said on Monday it would oppose foreign waste from going to landfills from now on and would review permits for landfills to receive organic waste and suspend them “for good reason.”
A total of 11 private landfills across Portugal are allowed to receive foreign waste, the APA said. Portugal’s Ministry of the Environment acknowledges that some of these landfills are not legally licensed.
Portugal is an attractive waste disposal destination because of the low cost of management of waste in the country’s landfills, which will cost 9.9 euros a tonne in 2019 and 11 euros a tonne this year, compared with an average of 80 euros in Europe.
Portugal’s environment ministry said it would raise waste management fees to stop landfills.