By Evie Andreou
DESPITE the fact that Cypriots produced seven per cent less domestic garbage last year compared to 2012, they are among the biggest producers of garbage in the EU, the statistical service said yesterday.
According to their data, Cyprus produced 579,000 tonnes of urban solid waste in 2012, or 670 kilos of waste per person, earning the country the title of the biggest per capita garbage producer in the EU, followed by Denmark, Luxemburg and Germany.
Data for 2013 is still not available, but the service estimated that the number of per capita garbage production has fallen to 624kgs which is still above the EU average of 487kgs per person.
The statistical service reported that the majority of the 538,000 tonnes of urban solid waste produced in 2013 ended up in landfills, while only 9 per cent was collected for compost and 12 per cent for recycling.
“We still have a long way to go when it comes to recycling, but people’s efforts are showing improvement,” said Sakis Theodosiou, Commercial Manager of the public recycling venture Green Dot.
He said that the company already collects 40,000 tonnes of recyclable materials per year without any incentives, which shows that people are willing to manage their household garbage better.
“One very important measure is the ‘pay-as-you-throw’ (PAYT) scheme, which is successfully implemented in other European countries; people will pay according to the volume or weight of the garbage they produce, thus they will think twice before they throw everything in the trashcans. It will be in their best interest to sort out their trash,” Theodosiou said.
Aglandjia municipality announced in early October that they would launch a PAYT pilot programme, while Costas Hadjipanayiotou, the Director of the Agriculture ministry’s Department of Environment, had said earlier in the month that they were preparing legislation to promote PAYT trash metering programmes within local authorities.
Green Dot’s Theodosiou also said that the government should introduce fees for dumping garbage in Nicosia’s Kotsiatis and Limassol’s Vati landfills to prevent people from following the easy solution of loading a truck and dumping everything they don’t want instead of recycling.
“Another good measure is for the government to set a ‘waste limit’ for each municipality and local community according to their population and reward them if they stay below the limit or impose fines if they exceed it,” he said.
The two new bills that concern a new strategy for municipal waste management and the prevention and reduction of waste are to be presented at a public consultation organised by the Department of Environment on Tuesday at 5.30pm at the Cleopatra Hotel in Nicosia.
To participate, contact [email protected] by Friday.