Sicily forced to carry waste abroad: “A necessary evil”

Professor Angelini, president of the Via-Vas commission, it seems that the Sicily of waste is a perfect synthesis of pathological screwing. What have we learned from the past and where do we still need to improve?

«The twenty-year failure in waste management was artfully constructed, through the continuation of commissioner regimes dedicated to emergency management, based on extra-extraordinary nature. The legislation provides that the costs for waste management are covered by the tariff that citizens pay to the municipality, to guarantee collection and investments for the construction of the plants. Instead, still today many municipalities ask the Region to “replace” itself as in the time of the Cuffarian emergency centralism ».

Not to mention the metropolitan areas …

«The tip of the iceberg of inefficiency is represented by the three big cities which alone represent 50% of the regional production of waste. After a quarter of a century since separate collection was introduced as a management method, Palermo, Catania and Messina continue to manage waste in the same way as then, emptying the bins and taking waste to landfills. The services on average are of low quality and with tenfold costs due to landfills and by decision of the commissioner managements they have almost all passed into the hands of four private companies that have become the monopolists of disposal ”.

The governments of Totò Cuffaro and Raffaele Lombardo tripped over the waste-to-energy plants. In what way is the narrative on the subject doped by prejudices and in what terms are these tools really outdated?

“In the meantime, I’d make a difference. Cuffaro wanted a plan that provided for four incinerators and four private landfills, while Lombardo never joined the supporters of the incinerators, on the contrary his government opposed them and dissolved the Arra which was the continuation of the commissioner regimes in the form of a agency with political powers. Cuffaro stands out in those years for having brought all waste management outside the legal system. It carries out the largest privatization of landfills and the tender is blocked in Europe ».

But are waste-to-energy plants needed for waste management or not?

«Waste-to-energy plant is a restyling term, the legislation calls them incinerators and they are intended for the recovery of energy from waste. They are very complex plants and have too often become an alibi behind which bankrupt waste management is hiding. It is not enough to evoke them to dispose of them. They have to be planned, foreseen, banned and implemented. It takes at least five or seven years to make them operational, therefore, they can be a strategic solution for those who make this choice but they do not represent a solution for the current phase “.

Before becoming president of the Via-Vas commission he contributed to writing the new rules on behalf of the Musumeci government: without being too much of a fan, can you explain the virtues, defects and prerogatives of the Plan to us?

«Let’s start with the defect. It took two years from the time when the first regional waste plan was put into operation, opposed and slowed down since 1997, by those who have done gold deals with landfills. The Regional Plan is essential for the implementation of EU sustainable development and circular economy programs and represents the tool through which the Region will be able to guarantee integrated management and policies for the prevention, recycling, reuse and reduction of waste in safe conditions. environmental. Today Sicily has an excellent Plan, above all, thanks to the hard work of one of the most qualified Italian technicians, Alberto Pierobon ».

What issues does the Plan solve and what remains outside the scope of the solutions?

«The Plan defines a framework as well as the scenario of general needs, who does it and how he must do it and what he must do, with what objectives in order to achieve on a technical and economic level: the circular economy. Now, it is necessary to quickly adapt the area plans to bring them into line with the regional plan ».

Is the transport of waste out of Sicily a necessary evil?

«I think it is necessary in order to reduce the organizational and managerial pressure on the operating plants and to escape from the emergencyist grip that is hard to die. It is possible to find on the European market at competitive costs plants where to carry waste for one or two years ».

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