Keeping the coast clear

The coastal region of central Portugal will soon be a flagship region when it comes to handling solid waste generated in urban areas, as a result of new facilities for transporting, processing and recycling the waste.

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The geographical area covered includes 36 municipalities and their 970 000 residents. Apart from the multi-municipal system itself, 87 new jobs will be created during the operational phase of the facilities’ lifetime.

Changing times, adapting processes

Back in 1996, a multi-municipal system for handling urban solid waste was introduced in the coastal area of Portugal’s Centro region. At the time, strategic objectives were set for the development of several waste infrastructures in cities across the region. However, to comply with recent changes in national and community legislation and to deal with the growing lack of capacity in waste landfills, there is a need to expand the initial project and set up new facilities. As a result, the current multi-municipal project covers land acquisition, planning studies, infrastructure development, equipment set-up as well as technical assistance, all of which will take place between 2006 and 2011.

The technological face of waste treatment

The key features of the project are the construction of 2 units for the mechanical and biological treatment of solid urban waste, including biogas energy production, and the construction of 1 new transfer station. Heavy equipment will also be purchased for waste transportation, and land acquired for building the facilities on. These investments are ultimately expected to contribute to high-quality treatment processes and greater levels of recycling.

Figures speak volumes

The amount of urban biodegradable waste is estimated at 80 734 tons for 2010, rising to 123 122 by 2015, while the percentage of the urban biodegradable waste actually treated is estimated at 66% for 2010, increasing to 100% by 2015. The new multi-municipal system will help meet the aim of environmental sustainability, all the while respecting the principle of preventive action and correcting sources of possible environmental impacts. It will also adhere to the polluter-pays principle, with user payments maintaining the system in the future.

Draft date