The head of Algarve Tourism Board, João Fernandes, said that the region runs a “huge risk” of having rubbish to be collected due the new law, namely restaurants, hotels, schools and retail trade, among other sectors.
The new regime, which comes into force on 1 January, makes it mandatory for the large waste producers to send waste (undifferentiated and recyclable) for management through private companies, making it impossible to use municipal urban waste systems.
In the Algarve, the measure will bring more costs and operational problems to restaurants and accommodation establishments due to the lack of private companies to do that job, warned João Fernandes.
Furthermore, the Algarve may "become, instead of the best tourist destination, the destination that does not collect garbage”, he warned.
According to Lusa News Agency, João Fernandes gave the example of a campsite in the region, which would pay €800 a month at the municipal waste services in Portimão, but would see the bill rise to €6,000 a month, "seven times more" with a private company providing the same service.
In addition to the high costs, João Fernandes said that in the Algarve there are not enough services to meet the demand that arises with these new rules, adding that today private operators do not have the capacity to provide this response and will certainly not have the capacity in the short term, because this service is not installed in the Algarve.
João Fernandes also criticised the “single exception” provided for in the bill, which “requires proof of refusal of service by five licensed private treatment operators”.
"Now, it is not very difficult to realise that it will be almost impossible to collect these declared refusals by companies licensed to provide this service", he considered, stressing that, for this purpose, the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) also has to give their opinion, but it can only do so after “mandatory opinions” from the Competition Authority and the Regulatory Authority for Water and Waste Services (ERSAR).
Taking into account the legislative framework that comes into force on 1 January and the "demanding period" that "companies - tourism, trade and many others - are going through this recovery" of the economy, João Fernandes defended the adoption of "supports and not additional burdens and unbearable difficulties”.
In this sense, he defended the adoption of “a longer transition period for the entry into force of this law”, as well as “a review of what is considered a larger waste producer”.
In addition, he argued that it should be easier to prove the incapacity of private companies to provide the service for the purposes of exception.
Furthermore, the head of the Algarve Tourism Board is concerned that when summer comes, the region will be dependent on a private response that at the moment does not exist in the region.
This decree-law nº 102-D/2020 results from the transposition of European directives on waste management to the Portuguese legal system.