RAMALLAH, May 24, 2012 (WAFA) – The EU Thursday provided equipment worth €7.6 million for the collection and transfer of solid waste to eight Joint Service Councils (JSC) across the West Bank, according to an EU press release.

The hand-over ceremony was organized in Ramallah in the presence of the EU representative, John Gatt-Rutter, and the Minister of Local Governance Khalid Qawasmi.

With this contribution, municipalities across the West Bank will cover all their equipment needs for collection and management of solid waste, said the release.

The majority of the equipment which includes containers, collection & transfer vehicles, landfill machinery and compactors will go to south West Bank in order to make operational the al Minya landfill site covering the Bethlehem and Hebron area. Other areas of the West Bank such as Jenin, Qalqilya, Nablus, Tubas and Ramallah will also receive equipment to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their solid waste management, not least by reducing the running costs of the respective JSC.

“The Joint Service Councils have put in place plans to make the Palestinian streets cleaner both by improving garbage collection and by managing disposal in a way that is cost efficient and environmentally safe. We hope that by handing over these equipment today we can support them in realizing these plans in full,” said Gatt-Rutter.

“I want to underline that a lot of the equipment were manufactured locally, in Palestine, proving that local suppliers have the capacity and technical expertise to provide quality products of this scale,” he added.

More than 30% of the procured equipment were produced locally which led to the creation of jobs for local workers (11,200 man days) throughout the production phase. Also, Palestinian technicians worked closely with manufacturers from other countries, such as Turkey, to ensure that all technological requirements specified by the JSC were being met.

The contribution builds on previous support provided by the EU to meet the ongoing needs for better waste collection and landfill facilities, said the release.

Since 2008 the EU contributed over €5 million to help improve Jenin’s landfill and solid waste management equipment and also provided €4.29 million to upgrade the Hebron Governorate’s solid waste management equipment and Bethlehem’s regional landfill facilities. The current project will also provide recycling equipment to the JSC of Hebron and Bethlehem towards supporting five pilot recycling projects in the area.