MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT AND LANDFILL SITE SELECTION IN GREECE: IRRATIONALITY VERSUS EFFICIENCY
Municipal solid waste (MSW) collection and disposal is a major problem of urban environment in the world today. MSW management solutions have to be technologically feasible, legally and socially acceptable and environmentally and financially sustainable. European policy is pushing to a rational management of natural resources; a promising technological perspective today is waste valorization, a process that becomes possible through sorting at the source, combined with material recycling and waste-to-energy methods. On the other hand, technologies like mechanical sorting, or disposal of MSW in landfills do not really improve MSW management efficiency. Landfills should become the ultimate disposal site of a few inert residuals from MSW valorization. Despite all this, conventional landfills for disposal of mixed MSW are still being constructed, with landfill site selection being a major social problem due to the lack of public acceptance; objectivity in landfill site selection is therefore extremely important. In Greece, we find several examples of inefficient MSW management and curious landfill site selection. In this paper, we criticize environmental policy issues for MSW management in Greece and identify weak points in the criteria used for the selection of landfill sites. We conclude that there is a real need for rational MSW management based on high quality scientific input.