By establishing the National Solid Waste Policy, Law No. 12,305/2010 has brought undeniable progress to the legal treatment applicable to solid waste management services. Although Law No. 11,445/2007 had already laid down some general guidelines for the provision of basic sanitation services, including solid waste management, as well as certain minimum conditions for concessions involving these services to be granted, it was only with the enactment of Law No. 12,305/2010 that the social and environmental importance of urban trash and recycling and solid waste management services was regulated.
Nevertheless, nearly five years after the enactment of the National Solid Waste Policy, some of its most relevant measures still need to be implemented, in practice, in several cities. One of them is worth highlighting: the statutory provision ordering the cities to establish, by August 2014, an environmentally proper way to finally discharge of their waste (Article 54).
Through this requirement, the federal law sought to replace all existing open dumps with landfills. However, only 2,200 out of all 5,564 Brazilian cities had adopted, by the end of 2013, an environmentally proper solution for the final discharge of their waste (Ministry of the Environment, 2014).
Given the high number of cities presenting this irregular condition, a new movement emerged in 2014, aiming at extending the deadline for adoption of the necessary measures. The National Congress even approved an amendment to Provisional Measure No. 651/2014, with the purpose of admitting a term extension for the implementation of landfills until 2018. However, in November, the President of the Republic vetoed the measure, preventing the irregular cities from benefitting from such a term extension to replace their open dumps. Therefore, all cities that, by August 2014, have not met the requirements of Law No. 12,305/2010, remain irregular.
Once this discussion has been resolved, it will be up to the cities, more than ever, to streamline the procurement processes aiming to implement effective solutions. In view of the investments and technologies required to implement projects that are capable of remediating the contaminated areas, building the landfills, and providing solid waste management services, the cities may, individually or regionally, choose the models for concession and public-private partnership agreements that may ensure sufficient financial sustainability to the project and make it more attractive. In this context, the cities may also start a public call for proposals procedure to obtain studies that may serve as basis for the competitive process involving any interested parties.
Prior to starting this competitive process, however, the cities will need to adopt a Basic Municipal Sanitation Plan and an Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan.
These plans are important for two main reasons. First, because it is a requirement to receive funds from the federal government, and also, incentives and financing from federal credit or fostering entities for such a purpose. Second, because the existence of a Basic Municipal Sanitation Plan is, according to Law No. 11,145, a condition for such contracts to be valid, thus making the drafting of such document mandatory.
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