LDK Consultants

Integrated waste management systems & PPPs in Greece

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Solid waste management is considered to be a multi-dimensional issue due to the variety of factors involved. Such factors indicatively include technology issues in respect to environmental performance and output, issues of strategic and political policy and planning, public awareness and social maturity questions, as well as issues of financial viability. The Greek legislative framework distributes the administrative jurisdiction among central government and local administrations, depending on the form, size and importance of each relevant project. Despite the already set legislation according to EU standards and directives, the realisation of projects has been evolving at a very slow pace, depictive of state bureaucracy and lack of implementation mechanisms. A permanent unauthorised but realised practice is the uncontrolled solid waste burial, especially common in rural and smaller urban areas. The well intentioned government planning, in the frame of implementing the legislative framework, has been facing issues of funding, slow processes and public approval and awareness, having as a consequence either incomplete projects or court procedures.

This delay results to partial and segmental operations, as well as in some cases annulations of tender procedures on the initial management plans, requiring redesign almost from scratch for certain projects. Parallel to this generally acknowledged unsatisfying situation, Greece has set particularly ambitious targets in respect to solid waste management for the forthcoming decades, which demand the harmonised cooperation of all involved parties, including governmental agencies, local administration, operators, designers, contractors and constructors. The experience of such coordination up to now has not been encouraging.

It has been widely acknowledged though that the soundest way to realise such management schemes is the provision of additional motives aiming at the active participation of the private sector. Such approaches offer reciprocal gains, providing at the same time funding sources, experience and knowledge transfer, to the public sector. Greece falls actually short in sound solid waste management via the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, but similar expertise has been acquired in other countries. Solutions of any sort are neither simple nor imminent; still, private sector initiatives can not be neglected. This successful approach has been recently initiated in Greece.

The first Greek PPP project recently entered its construction phase, assigned to a local engineering construction company. The key to success for PPP projects in all cases, and independently of size or complexity, is an investor being economically healthy and rich in know-how. In the frame of such partnerships, two projects on solid waste management have entered the tender process in Greece, comprising a unique development opportunity and raising interest by international consortiums as well. Such projects appear to be an efficient and sustainable service, both in the short and in the long term, both in terms of realisation schedules and of effective operation, both serving the public and private sector.

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