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Irish Times - 16-02-07
State will have to alter approach to waste if new measures are passed
Mark Rodden in Strasbourg

[MEPs reject plans to reclassify incineration as a form of recovery rather than a form of disposal. Incineration therefore remains at the bottom of the Waste Management Hierarchy, as the least favourable method of waste management, along with other disposal methods such as Landfill.]
Synopsis by CHASE

The Week in Strasbourg: Ireland will have to alter radically its approach to waste if tough measures adopted by the European Parliament this week are passed into law.

MEPs agreed to a policy focusing on waste prevention that introduces binding targets designed to significantly reduce waste production in EU member states. The policy states that by 2020 at least 50 per cent of municipal waste and 70 per cent of waste from construction and manufacturing must be recycled or re-used.

MEPs agreed that it is crucial to reduce the use of landfills and incineration. At present up to 90 per cent of municipal waste goes to landfill sites in some member states, while only 33 per cent of waste is recycled or composted in Europe. Some 65 per cent of municipal waste is landfilled in Ireland, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's National Waste Report 2006.

The proposals also outline that by 2012 waste production should be stabilised at 2008 levels, and include provisions for the introduction of a five-stage "hierarchy of waste". This names prevention and reduction of waste as the top priority with waste disposal, such as landfill, seen as the worst option.

It also sets standards to be met by incinerators but a majority of MEPs rejected plans to reclassify incineration as a form of recovery rather than disposal.

Munster MEP Kathy Sinnott said she was pleased that incineration had not been reclassified as recovery, after earlier warning that Ireland would take "the easy way out" if it was not made clear that incineration was "disposal and unsustainable."

The parliament was voting to adopt a report by British MEP Caroline Jackson. It will be passed into law if the council agrees to the parliament's plans.

Yesterday, MEPs called on the United Nations to send a peacekeeping force to Darfur at the earliest opportunity, even if this means doing so without the consent of the Sudanese government.

© 2007 The Irish Times


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