FILE - Plastic garbage - Pixabay/Ben Kerckx
CAIRO – 22 September 2019: Statements attributed to Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad that the to-be-installed national waste management system has determined the monthly fees on garbage collecting were completely denied on Saturday, Sept. 21.
“The statements circulating on some news websites that were attributed to Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad regarding imposing a monthly fee for collecting garbage are not true,” read a statement posted on the official Facebook page of the Ministry of Environment.
The statement asserted that the ministry has not issued any statements in this regard, “especially that the country is currently preparing the infrastructure of the new waste management system, including establishing intermediary garbage collection stations and landfills, and raising the efficiency of recycling plants, which is the key element of the new system of managing solid waste in the country.”
A total of 80 million tons of garbage is collected in Egypt each year, with most of them ending up in piles in the streets. The government has taken several steps over the years to contain the growing waste crisis in the country by raising awareness and announcing fines of up to LE 20,000 for littering streets.
Another side of the issue was the unfair waste billing, where citizens have repeatedly complained of being obliged to pay for the service twice, once for the door-to-door collection, and unreasonably, a second time as part of their electricity bills. This billing system has been in place for long years, pushing previous environment ministers to vow to solve the problem, and to work on allocating bills for the waste collection service separated from that of the electricity and water bills; however, this step has not yet come into force.
The new solid waste management approach as introduced by Minister of Environment Fouad includes 27 schemes, which seek to dispose the existing garbage and maintain sustainable recycling of the country’s waste that meet with the sustainable development goals pinned by the United Nations.
Awareness of the risks of the single-use of plastic has seen growth in the country, with dozens of youth participating in clean-up campaigns at beaches and along the banks of the Nile River, and many groups calling for the ban of the hazardous pollutant, which affects the ecosystems and environment.
As of June, the Red Sea governorate became the first to ban the single-use plastic at food shops, restaurants, cruise ships, supermarkets, grocery stories and pharmacies.