World ISWA congress opens in Novi Sad

September 20, 2016

World ISWA congress opens in Novi Sad

Novi Sad, the capital of Serbian northern province Vojvodina hosts a three-day International Solid Waste Association ISWA  2016 Congress starting Monday, with the highest number of participants ever – 1,203 from 72 countries worldwide. At the same time this is the first congress of this Association held in Southeastern Europe.

The Congress was presented with A Roadmap for closing Waste Dumpsites. Developed countries banned dumpsites three decade ago, but in some countries they still exist, being places for some 40 % of the world waste that affects over 60 million people and led to 750 deaths from December last year to June 2016, ISWA press release said.

The other topics at the Congress included the influence of climate change on reshaping waste management and recycling, the fact how people deal with waste, the contribution of science in waste management and recycling, communication as a cornerstone of circular economy and other.

The Congress was also marked by the change at the ISWA top, when former director David Newman, a British, passed the presidency to Antonis Mavropoulos from Greece, founder and CEO of a global initiative D-Waste and EPEM S.A.

During the plenary session the audience was addressed by Timothy Bouldry who is running the ISWA Scholarship Programme. According to Bouldry, “waste management is about people, not about waste”. He also stressed that there is a strong need to continue with education of people about waste management, especially about landfills.

The importance of communication was the issue for Ana Loureilo, a specialist in strategic environmental communication cooperating with ISWA, while Mavropoulos, the new Association head, said: “ISWA is a global network of one, two, three thousand people who know a lot about waste management. They know how to drive. Let them do their work. Don’t freeze them with political arrangements.”

Mavropoulos: ISWA is a global network of one, two, three thousand people who know a lot about waste management. They know how to drive. Let them do their work. Don’t freeze them with political arrangements.

The new ISWA head also stressed that changes in this area could not come overnight as a revolution. “You cannot ride a donkey and suddenly buy a Ferrari”, he said stressing out the need to go step by step in changing the approach to the waste management.

The organiser of the event, Goran Vujić, executive director of Serbian Solid Waste Association (SeSWA)  told reporters that the congress is a great opportunity for the whole region. “ISWA 2016 participants are from all over the globe – mayors, representatives of governments, companies and scientists. An extremely important thing is that we have here the representatives of the European Commission Waste and Circular Economy departments and they will take an important role in discussion”, said Vujić, adding that Serbia and Southern Europe can learn a lot from countries that have already been successful in dealing with waste management.

Developed countries banned dumpsites three decade ago, but in some countries they still exist, being places for some 40 % of the world waste that affects over 60 million people and led to 750 deaths from December last year to June 2016.

At the side line of the Congress, Tom Wlaschiha, who was the mediator at the plenary session, also  known for his roles in series Crossing lines and Game of Thrones and personal involvement in raising environmental awareness, told Balkan Green Energy News that “everybody should be interested in the issue because climate change, renewable energy and waste management that we are dealing with here effects us all. In Europe, sometimes we stay only theoretical because we don’t see the problem every day, but in the developing world it is much bigger. We have a responsibility to take care of resources and raise awareness so that in the long run everybody is doing their best to protect the environment”.