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Why Geneva bristles against the trash fee

Quartier Jonction, Bank of the Rhône, at 9 am: The barge Athos is ready for take-off. Trucks have emptied since the morning hours, tons of garbage on his cargo area. A tugboat pulls the barge from the loading station and the river down to about 50 minutes away, waste incineration plant "Usine des Cheneviers". There the cargo is transported to the furnace in the 850 degree hot combustion.

Athos, and three other Barges belonging to the specificities of the Geneva waste concept. Replace approximately 16'000 truck trips per year. The Canton of Geneva boasts for the progressiveness of his environmentally friendly transportation. But when it comes to other feature – the garbage bag fee, then the tone will change.

Geneva is the last Canton that want to get along without a fee. During the St. Gallen went in the '70s as a garbage-pioneers of progress, have to pay even the lower Valais, traditionally sceptical to Opt out of the Federal government in Bern, since the beginning of 2018, according to the 'polluter pays' principle.

forced Yes

you want to know, in Geneva, nothing. "We don't need no bag fee, we can reach the goals without coercion," says Jacques Martelain, head of the Geneva waste disposal. Geneva had reached the settlement a recycling rate of 49.3 percent waste in the last year. This is almost as good as the average of all Swiss cantons. This was in 2017, at around 53 percent. In Geneva had improved the Rate in the last few years, always around 0.7 to 0.8 percent. And, Martelain, you increases.

The bag fee does not want to introduce Geneva for other reasons. It is not feared that the many foreign residents to understand the concept that control measures cost a lot and not help much, and that many of Geneva would Dodge because of a fee, to France, to get rid of their trash. Such collateral damage, they wanted to avoid, says Martelain. Tensions with the French neighbours, it has enough of that already. The bag fee in Geneva, moreover, is unfair, because they are charged to families is particularly strong.

Initial resistance, then acceptance

Michael Hügi knows these arguments. As a Deputy section chief in the waste and raw materials division Federal office for the environment (FOEN) he followed exactly how the cantons and the municipalities implemented the bag fees. In Lausanne, there was initially to loud protests. Resistance also came from the Canton of Nidwalden. The FOEN Bern, it remained left. Due to the availability of data on waste flows and the authority is confident that The bag fee is a meaningful thing.

statistics show that In municipalities which introduced the bag fee, has decreased the amount of waste that is intended for the combustion, an average of around a third. In Parallel for the Recycling of collected waste quantity increased in the same order of magnitude. In addition, Once introduced, is accepted the bag fee in the population. "97 percent of people we surveyed after the introduction, did not want to give up the fee," says Michael Hügi.

no Matter. Geneva still don't want them.

Michael Hügi has a clear position on this question. "The financing of the disposal of municipal waste in the Canton of Geneva is not Federal law compliant," he says. The Federal court ruled in 2011 that the municipalities have to eliminate your garbage, the majority at the expense of the consumer. A maximum of 30 percent may be paid for with tax money. But why the Federal government is not forcing the Geneva to the change in the system? "For reasons of proportionality", SWI. He does not acknowledge: "Geneva is idle, but tried other measures to optimize the recycling rate to achieve the environmental objective, that is the real reason for the bag fee."

white Swiss for Geneva

Also, the FOEN, that more pressure would be counterproductive. Geneva sees the bag fee as something typically Swiss. And typically Swiss, you don't want to be on the Western end of Switzerland partout. Also, just because you share 103 kilometers of land border with France and only 4.5 km with the neighboring Swiss Canton of Vaud. Instead of a half-fare travelcards, the Geneva have a GA of their transport companies, they are also used in the French border area around.

The rest of Switzerland in the way. "I know a lot of Geneva, who were never in German-speaking Switzerland," says Sandro Cattacin, a sociology Professor at the University of Geneva. Here, one looks towards France, wool international. This should take into account, anyone who wants to discuss in Geneva on Federal Decisions such as the garbage bag fee. "The Federal government in Bern, in Geneva, not heavy, but no. You need to be honest with you."

It is also a matter of principle. You can't be like three speeches in Geneva.

Will ignored the law and merely because it comes from Bern? Out Of Spite? For Sandro Cattacin this falls short of the mark. For him, the Geneva solo run has to do with the complex mobility. He speaks of the Grand-Genève, a catchment area with over 900'000 people, which also includes French border regions. "You want to regulate things like the waste, it needs a cross-border solution," he says.

What Cattacin says: Basel, which shares a long border with France and Germany, has been working for a long time with the charging system. According to Michael Hügi from the FOEN runs until today without any major problems.

Perhaps the Geneva quarrel is not even with the fee. Maybe it's something more Fundamental, so that you can view the waste as a private matter. As much as anything else. Cattacin: "Geneva is highly individualistic. The shows in the public space, where one does not care much for cleanliness, and didn't know what to say."

Some will take longer

On such cultural sensitivities Michael Hügi can take place in Bern little consideration. He believes it is essential that the Canton of Geneva to increase its recycling rate. "The FOEN, as the Supervisory authority will pursue the efforts for Recycling in the cantons on an ongoing basis. In our federalist System, some developments in some regions need more time and Persuasion than others." This was seen in the rest of Switzerland.

SWI speaks to the Valais. The German-speaking upper Valais, has the bag fee since the 90s. However, in the frankofonen part of the Canton introduced until 2018, the Federal court had no other choice. Without pressure, the conversion didn't work, 2018, the Wallis buses imposed in the amount of a total of 750'000 Swiss francs against waste, a sinner. SWI is likely to be a number other important. According to the Valais Department for environment, managed, 2018, the amount of household waste to reduce by 32 percent. In Parallel, the recycling rate had increased greatly.

In the Canton of Valais seems to work the bag fee. Geneva is not impressed the. However, the Canton is under pressure. The reason for its new incineration plant. 2023 you should go into operation. The plant will be able to burn per year, only 160'000 tons of waste. Currently 225'000 tons. You sunk the Rest in the future, in the Rhone? Jacques Martelain, head of the Geneva waste disposal, is called the reduction a challenge, measures are in discussion.

if Necessary, the Geneva would have to burn their garbage in Lausanne. You already do today. But then, you do not send any trash ships, but rail cars. As well, the Compounds in the rest of Switzerland.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 26.04.2019, 20:16 Uhr

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