Kochi Integrated Waste Management Site and Dikmen / Dikomo Rehabilitation Site field visit
One of the main goals of the Technical Committee on Environment is to create a network of communication and collaboration among all environmental stakeholders in Cyprus. With this mechanism, environmental experts will be exchanging experiences and information, good practices, and challenges, sharing ideas as per new future common actions. Solid waste management is one of the thematic areas that the TCE is currently focusing on. Under this framework, a field visit to Kochi Integrated Waste Management Site and Dikmen / Dikomo Rehabilitation Site, was organize. The field visit took place on Saturday June 4th, 2022.
Led by the co-chairs, Salih Gücel and Michael Loizides, the members of the Technical Committee were joined by Doga Donmezer UNDP Project Coordination Associate, Willow Crystal, UN Facilitator, and technical experts, visited two important sites, and had an open discussion as per the environmental challenges related to the fate of the different waste streams, good practices, Circular Economy, and potential areas for cooperation in the field of Solid Waste Management.
The team's first stop was at Kochi Integrated Waste Management Site, where the director of the company offered a complete tour of the treatment plan and facilities along with a detailed description of the workflow, the different waste streams, and products. During this tour the experts had the opportunity to observe first-hand the separation process and have a discussion on the challenges that the plant is facing. Potential new improvements of the treatment plant based on new EU legislation was also discussed during the tour.
The second stop of the team was at Dikmen /Dikomo Rehabilitation Site. A brief overview of the rehabilitation and closure of the Kato Dikomo/Dikmen dump site project and description of the plant was offered on site. The status of recycling process in the Turkish Cypriot community/side and the active solid waste management approach were also discussed.
The site visit was followed by fruitful discussion on the solid waste management and Circular Economy challenges and how can the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot experts cooperate in order to secure sustainability of any future effort for waste recovery and recycling. One of the points highlighted was how a common infrastructure can be more effective in a small island like Cyprus. A sorting station located in the buffer zone was one of the issues raised and discussed.
The issue of source separation as part of the Pay as You Throw approach was also discussed putting the citizens in the center of Circular Economy. Producers' responsibility was also discussed and various suggestions for optimum management of this very important aspect of waste management were heard and noted. A new mindset for every Cypriot as per the approach towards the 5Rs and the Circular Economy will be sought through awareness raising, education, incentives and even eco taxation. Changing habits is difficult but separation at source could become a useful and effective tool to turn waste into raw materials, allowing their proper Circular use. All we have to do is try.
Green points operating in several municipalities at the Greek Cypriot side/community was another subject discussed during the visit, and how their operation in collecting non-organic garbage from households helped to the reduction of illegal dumping and encouraged people to separate at the source. Twenty-four to twenty-six different waste streams are collected at these green points, where citizen can drop off everything that is no longer useful to them. In addition, application of pay-as-you-throw program, according to which the residents are charged for the collection of municipal solid waste—ordinary household trash—based on the amount they throw away can create a direct economic incentive to recycle more and to generate less waste. A site visit of Turkish Cypriot experts to a successful Greek Cypriot green point to see the results on this practice firsthand, was suggested. In addition, investigation of applying the practice of pay as you throw to the Turkish Cypriot side/community could help in creating more sustainable system.
The day closed with an open call for proposals to address pressing environmental issues in the field of solid waste management, working together for common future. The members of the TCE thanked all participants for their contribution to this visit and the opportunity given to discuss and share views for immediate and future common actions on urgent environmental issues that need to be addressed. One of the ideas derived from this discussion was to investigate how the Technical Committee on Environment can help to support the ongoing efforts regarding the existing project on recycling electronic waste. Aim of the TCE is to study and try to understand what the challenges of this project are and how the TCE can help to move forward. Investigation of having a common infrastructure within the Buffer Zone and how this could work, was another idea derived from this session concerning Circular Economy. Another point made during this discussion was the facilitation of industrial symbiosis efforts (how specific waste coming from certain activities/industries, can serve as input raw material for others) with a great potential for the development of new products from recycled materials. Therefore, further investigation of the potential transfer of recycled materials from the north to the south of the buffer zone and vice versa, should be sought.