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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