Technical Programme Manager ISWA, Co-ordinator of Working Group on Hazardous Waste
In the past two years of pandemic, ISWA had to adapt to find the spaces of networking and exchange of information and experiences in digital channels. This has been convenient for different reasons such as the possibility of interacting without the hurdles and externalities of travel.
Nonetheless, it lacks two important components:
- The possibility of being physically close and establishing more meaningful connections with like-minded people in the sector
- Having on-site technical visits to directly learn by observation and perception on good practices
The ISWA Working Group on Hazardous Waste was keen in retaking those opportunities and organised its first in-person / hybrid and site-visit meeting in two years.
It all started by an initial gathering of WG members at the airport of Barcelona. They were coming from different places in the world including France, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Oman, Netherlands, etc. This was the perfect opportunity to meet and greet old friends and colleagues and for others, to make the initial enthusiastic in-person introductions for those who were managing to relate the online talking heads with the real personas.
After this we all were headed in different rental cars to what would be our headquarters for the next couple days, the ancient city of Tarragona. This city was one the most important Roman cities of antiquity, but it also has a couple of very interesting and well-running industrial facilities for treating Hazardous Waste. While the latter being the main reason for visit, the first was also enjoyable.
After a quick stop at the hotel, we headed over for dinner to a place recommended by our guide for the city -Gabriel. Gabriel, being a working group member but also a resident of the area knew the good places and the best wine to not cause any headaches.
The first day started with a good ol’ Working Group meeting hosted by the company Veolia in their Haz Waste incineration facility – Constanti. Here, ISWA members who also happen to be top level experts on Hazardous Waste around the world gathered to discuss the current status of Haz Waste practices and scenarios for their regions. Additionally, the meeting touched on the advancements of the projects on where the WG members collaborate on and dedicate part of their time with enthusiasm and dedication.
An important component of Tapas and Spanish hospitality was present as well and while I was wondering on which plate to start my lunch odyssey, I seemed to perceive how working group members stopped a bit to contemplate and appreciate that we got to finally meet in person.
Business was over for the day with a productive and fruitful long-day meeting on where we also had online active participation from members from Uruguay, Malta, Serbia and Canada, proving that technology can consume us but can also give us great flexibility for interactions.
After a quick stop at the hotel, we headed for a walking tour for knowing more about the history and heritage of Tarragona where the group was attentive to the stories of our local guide and curious to know our local guide demonstration of the strength of the walls of Tarragona. The final stop was to have a dinner hosted by Veolia in a restaurant with an excellent repertoire of local delights.
The next day started with a site visit to the industrial facilities where all the action happens. We got to see the Constanti Hazardous Waste incineration plant owned and operated by Veolia. In there, the group was guided through the site by the general plant manager and by the incineration plant manager, they were very attentive and answered all of our questions.
After this, we headed to the solvent purification plant of Seche Environment – Valls Quimica. In there we also had the attention of the general Manager and operations Manager. Of course, another round of Tapas was waiting for members in between the plant tours.
The group headed back to Barcelona where our flights were waiting for us to come back home. Some of us, took this time at the airport to have one goodbye beer to cheer for health, the possibility of meeting in-person and for new adventures with the ISWA family.
For more information about the working group and activities, please contact:
Alan Encinas – Working Group Coordinator – email@example.com
Nicolas Humez – Working Group Chair – firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire Papadi – Working Group Vice-Chair – email@example.com