ATHENS – “We deal with all issues related to the environment and climate change as an absolute priority,” Environment and Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said on Friday, addressing a conference on waste management and water recycling technologies organised by the Democritos and Benakio Phytopathological Institute in Athens.
Also addressing the conference, Deputy Agricultural Development and Food Minister Costas Skrekas said that matters relating to the proper management of natural resources were an absolute priority for the government and the prime minister himself.
“We do not have time to lose,” Hatzidakis said, adding that it was necessary to “change gears in the way we deal with environmental issues in the country”. Particularly, on the issue of the cyclical economy, the minister underlined: “We need a broad social alliance, citizens who understand that the cyclical economy is related to them and their children”.
“Our goal is to leave behind old-school methods of waste management and to treat waste as a valuable resource and as a raw material,” he added.
Hatzidakis noted that the ministry is drafting a manual of technical specifications, preparing changes to the legal framework to simplify licensing procedures, making an assessment of existing quality limits for processed waste, developing standards to create a national register for liquid waste and setting a framework to assess the re-use of water.
“Climate change, strong and urgent natural phenomena, are already at our door and affect primary production and the agricultural sector,” Skrekas said, adding that the country needed to change its cultivation models and to promote precision farming to help farmers move towards modern techniques and systems.