Govt officials discuss solid waste policy

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Brazilian government officials met on Tuesday and Wednesday (Oct 25-26) in Brasília to discuss the country's solid waste management and sanitation policy.

During the meeting, national health foundation Funasa president Gilson de Queiroz Filho stressed the importance of including informal recyclers in solid waste policy. The government has earmarked 8.5mn reais (US$4.83mn) to help organize waste recycling facilities, the lower house said in a release.

Of the 800,000 informal recyclers in the country, only 35,000 are considered to be organized and more than 30% live in poverty.

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Solid waste management is one of President Dilma Rousseff's priorities for 2012, according to the environment ministry's interim secretary for water resources and urban environment, Sérgio Antonio Gonçalves, who said federal funds are available to finance state waste management plans.

One of the criteria to obtain federal resources is the formation of municipal consortiums. Intermunicipal waste services will allow the country to operate with 350 integrated plans and a maximum of 1,000 landfills, Gonçalves said.

While government initiatives are a step forward, reverse logistics is the only real solution for the country's urban waste problem, according to Lucien Belmonte, president of Brazilian glass association Abividro.

Manufacturers must be made to deal with packaging materials, which will involve increasing the costs of the initial project. Putting this into practice will depend on political will, Belmonte said.

The meeting was organized by the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy's center for higher sustainability studies, in partnership with the lower house's environment committee and various other organizations.