Environment Commissioner satisfied with report on waste packaging management

Commissioner for the Environment Ioanna Panayiotou has expressed her satisfaction with the publishing of the special report on the management of waste packaging in Cyprus, which was published by the Audit Office of the Republic of Cyprus on March 28, 2018.

In a statement, Panayiotou says the findings of this report are deemed especially important and we believe that the recommendation of the Auditor General must be adopted immediately and without further delay, in order to guarantee and improve the recycling of packaging in Cyprus, in a way that will not be challenged by anyone.

Panayiotou says the strong points of the report are the existence of a national strategy for waste management, including waste packaging, the operation of collective and individual waste packaging management systems, the incorporation of EU legislation on waste packaging management into national law, and the operation of a Waste Management Sector at the Department of the Environment.

Among the opportunities, Panayiotou mentions the reduction of waste packaging, the strengthening of the Department of Environment for adequate and effective monitoring of waste packaging administrators, incentives and simplification of procedures for licenses for collective and individual waste packaging management systems in order to enhance competitiveness, and the implementation of measures to prevent waste packaging and encourage sorting at the source.

The weak points, according to Panayiotou, are the insufficient implementation of the national strategy for the reduction of solid waste, inadequate monitoring of producer liability for all types of waste, lack of information to the public by government departments regarding recycling and sorting at source, low awareness among the public for environmental issues, absence of infrastructure and/or systems for sorting at the source in rural areas, low performance of the recycling and management programme for certain types of waste (glass, wood, aluminium).

She also refers to the absence of proper establishments for recycling in Cyprus, resulting in materials being sent abroad for processing, absence of clear annual percentage targets for the reduction of produced quantities of waste and specific activities for meeting them, and absence of alternative planning by the Department of Environment in case they are not met, delay in works to close and restore the landfills for which there is a conviction by the EU, weaknesses in meeting the preconditions for the approval of a collective waste packaging management system, no management or delivery of waste to a licensed administrator by a significant number of liable producers of waste, and illegal waste management leading to part of it being disposed of in landfills without processing.

Regarding the threats, Panayiotou says there is a danger of a conviction or fine by the EU or mandatory implementation of costly solutions in the case that assessments on the annual percentage of the reduction of produced quantities of waste are not met.

She also points out the uncontrolled disposal of waste in rural areas with all the repercussions on the environment and human health, and the increase of the percentage margin of not meeting quantitative targets for the recovery and recycling of waste packaging from glass, wood, and aluminium, in case stricter aims are set.

The statement notes that the report was prepared after a written suggestion of the Environment Commissioner for the Auditor General on November 13, 2014.

Source: Cyprus News Agency