This investment priority covers waste infrastructure, and in particular infrastructure to implement the EU acquis. (Please note that the review of this topic has not been completed. This key message is provided in draft form.)

Key messages

Hazards from waste management can divided into those that are inherent to the waste; those that are transport-related; those that are produced as a result of the management option; and those disseminated as a result of the management option.

Poorly managed, illegal or abandoned landfills can lead to a range of adverse health outcomes including reproductive health outcomes. They can also contaminate groundwater. Improper waste incineration can lead to air pollution. The illegal waste trade can exacerbate these impacts – for example, when hazardous waste is sent to landfills or incinerators for municipal waste. If waste is exported from the EU illegally, health impacts can occur in developing countries.

The EU has a comprehensive body of legislation for waste management, and Structural Funds have played a key role in supporting investments in this sector. While many Member States have already established advanced infrastructure for waste management, others still need to invest in facilities to meet EU standards. The ex ante conditionality for this investment priority refers to targets in EU legislation, as well as the requirement to develop waste prevention programmes. These programmes implement the EU hierarchy for waste management, which sets reduction at the top. Here and throughout Structural Fund programming for waste management, it will be important to address health concerns.