Today, many towns and settlements have an ugly drawback – a local dump, where for decades waste has been disposed of. But that is about to change.
Because five municipalities have agreed to establish an intermunicipal waste management company ESANI A/S (Eqqaavilerineq Sulisoqarneq Atoqqiineq Nukissiuuteqaarnermilu Ingerlatseqatigiiffik), which will ensure that in the future, waste is managed in an environmentally correct manner.
Frank Rasmussen, operations and environmental manager at Sermersooq Municipality, has now been appointed as director of the company, a position he describes as his dream job.
“I know that it can sound strange when I say waste is my dream job, but it is a very exciting task that can provide the whole country with gains. Both financial and environmental,” says Frank Rasmussen.
The waste management company’s responsibilities include operating two new incineration plants, located in Sisimiut and Nuuk, respectively. The incineration plants will receive waste from towns and settlements from across the whole country.
The challenge that the country faces, is that many of the facilities that are operated in Greenland are small and old, and use technology that cannot ensure a combustion process where emissions comply with the standards that are acceptable in a modern society. Because each municipality does not generate enough combustible waste to justify the operation of their own incineration facility, it has meant that it is necessary to collect the waste at the two plants.
Despite the fact that the incineration plants are located in Nuuk and Sisimiut, it is important to emphasise that ESANI A/S is an intermunicipal enterprise. This means that costs relating to the delivery of waste to the incineration plants, costs relating to the operation of the incineration plants, investment costs and any earnings derived from energy production will be included in an overall account, and thus form the basis for a uniform municipal price determination of disposal of waste. Thus for example, it will cost Avannaata Municipality more to dispose of its waste per unit than it will cost Qeqqata Municipality.
The new waste disposal organisation should not be seen as a municipal attempt to make cutbacks. Waste must be compacted and packed in the towns and settlements in order that it can be transported for incineration, which is why Frank Rasmussen does not expect anyone to lose their job.
“People will still be needed in the smaller towns and settlements to carry out the sorting and packing process. The savings made relate to the fact that we can now use all of the waste from the entire country to generate energy and thus create more value,” says Frank Rasmussen.
In accordance with the plan, the new incineration plant in Sisimiut is expected be completed in 2022 and the new plant in Nuuk is expected to be completed in 2023.