Valorsul and ISWA – International Solid Waste Association Working Group on Communication promoted a debate session on 1 March in Lisbon, Portugal, between environmental journalists and communication experts from international waste management organizations which allowed to gather contributes from different perspectives and realities.
The main goal was to promote a bigger debate between media and waste management organizations, exchange information about problems, solutions and trends of the sector. This is, in fact, one of ISWA’s lines of action for 2013, as Gunilla Carlsson, chair of the Working Group on Communication, referred.
The main purpose of this meeting was to know both the interests and the needs of ‘the other side’, in order to figure out the best ways to transmit relevant messages towards environmental preservation and the defense of community interests.
It is unanimous that the economical crisis has also an impact not only on the public attention to environmental topics but also on the media coverage of those topics and also on environmental-friendly behaviors.
Therefore, it is necessary to address the new challenges of this context. The topics change and it is mandatory to keep up with the trends. If a while ago the attention was on the problem of dumpsters and on recycling, now a new optic is needed. On one hand, companies address the importance of topic such as the loss of separation habits, new issues on diverting materials of the collecting circuits and food waste. Journalists, on the other hand, draw the attention to topics with an impact on the daily life of citizens, trends, new solutions and updated and relevant statistics.
Media representatives consider it is extremely important for the data to be available for consultation. There are more and more platforms that allow it and they must also be used as tools in order to gain dissemination, awareness and mobilization. More than to overload the media with information, it should be relevant to the type of audience of each media.
On the opening session, João Figueiredo, president of the Executive Commission of Valorsul, underlined the challenge for the future: organizations and media working together towards the success of environmental education and awareness.
In the end, all the participants agreed that this kind of initiatives help engaging better relationships between both parts, promoting better information exchange and overcoming constraints in order to built a better communication of environmental and waste management topics.