President's Blog

15 May 2017 13:18 Age: 3 yrs

President’s Blog: A Guest Post from Fernando Leite

Category: ISWA BLOG, ISWA News, CloseDumpsites


Dr Fernando Leite is Vice President of ISWA's National Member in Portugal, APESB. APESB is the Portuguese Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering, a non-governmental organization, founded in 1980, is the national member of ISWA, actively engaged in the work and initiatives of the association.

One of ISWA’s key priorities is the fight against dumpsites, something which immediately caught our attention. Since the call for action of ISWA President, Antonis Mavropoulos, in Novi Sad (Serbia) at the 2016 World Congress, APESB have been committed to supporting the effort to close dumpsites.


Our first action was to seek the signatures of 50 important and influential people within Portugal for the declaration. Among them we have Mr. Matos Fernandes, Portuguese Minister of Environment, Mr. Carlos Martins, Portuguese Secretary of State of Environment, 8 Mayors including the Mayor of Porto, Mr. Rui Moreira, 2 Deputy Mayors of Porto Region, 6 Municipal Councillors, 3 Chairman’s of important companies, 17 CEO’s of important companies, 5 Professionals of waste sector, President and Vice President of APESB, General Secretary of BCSD Portugal (national member of the world Business Council for Sustainable Development), 5 High Directors of Portuguese Public Administration.


Beyond the signatures, we are taking further action, developing a strategy to support the initiative. Firstly, we are establishing a workplan which incorporates the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (SPLP): This plan will define the largest dumpsites in Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, S.Tome & Principe, East Timor and Guinee Bissau. We will look at how the dumpsites are operating, the number of people they serve (and the informal workers), the amount of waste they receive and the geographical and environmental impacts of their usage. Once we have mapped the dumpsites, we will push the government to mark them as emergency and risk zones for priority intervention.


Identifying the dumpsites and encouraging the government to mark them as emergency zones is a fundamental priority of APESB and will allow us to plan the elimination of the environmental liabilities of dumpsites and transforming the areas for the local communities in terms of health, jobs and general wellbeing.


The first dumpsite we are targeting is Matola (Mozambique), a city near the Capital of the country, Maputo; the Project involves the overlay of the waste, to seal the space, to create a barrier near the surrounding streets, to treat the leachate with a basic system, to create a new cell to confine the waste for the next 10 years. We also support the development of infrastructure for the sorting of waste with value for recycling, promoting employment in the region.


We hope to present our plan in full in June to the National Authorities, Ambassadors of CPLP Countries, APESB Members, Entrepreneurs and the Portuguese Academic and Scientific Community.


We will be working tirelessly to ensure the successful closure of dumpsites and will keep you updated on the progress. See you in Baltimore!


Fernando Leite


Vice-President of APESB