Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and one of the oldest cities in Western Europe. The history of Lisbon revolves around its strategic geographical position at the mouth of the Tagus, the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula. It´s an important sea port for trade between the Mediterranean Sea and northern Europe. Today its waterfront is lined with miles of docks and facilities that accommodate the largest oil tankers. Lisbon flourished in the 15th century as the centre of a vast empire during the period of the Portuguese discoveries. This was a time of intensive maritime exploration. Evidence of the city’s wealth can still be seen today in the magnificent structures built then, including the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belem Tower, each classified by the UNESCO in 1983. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, in combination with subsequent fires and a tsunami, almost totally destroyed Lisbon and adjoining areas. The 1st Marquis of Pombal took the lead in ordering to rebuild the city, and was responsible for the creation of the district “Baixa Pombalina” (Lower Town).
After all, Lisbon is a famous tourist destination for its authenticity and hospitality. A city where you can visit old museums and the São Jorge Castle, feeling safe in a sunny day, the temperature rarely drops below 15ºC, the cuisine is dedicated to creating over a thousand ways to cook the beloved bacalhau (salted codfish) and where old customs intermix with cultural entertainment and hi-tech innovation.
Reflection on the tourism in the pilot
The main reasons of visiting Lisbon is cultural and it´s a cheaper city to eat good gastronomy. The tourist wants to know the history of one of the oldest city of Europe. The type of tourists who visit Lisbon are different: families, groups or individuals of various ages, who came by plane for a weekend or in a short period of holidays. It´s notorious, the tourist flow increases significantly in the peak of the summer months (July, August and September). Many tourists also came by cruises, especially on this time of the year. Therefore, all year Lisbon receives a lot of tourists that arrives by excursions, but almost of them stays at the beaches’ cities, nearby Lisbon, for surfing. At Easter season, many Spanish tourists came by car to visit Lisbon. At Christmas season, many national tourists came to Lisbon to see the urban lights decoration and some festive concerts.
In the last years, in Lisbon appears youth tourists that came for a long period to start a university program or older tourists that choose Lisbon to live their retirement. A few festivals also attracts tourist to Lisbon, like the “Rock in Rio”.
The main available activities for the tourists are daytrips to the surroundings of Lisbon city. Some tourist chooses the Tuk-Tuk transport to meet the most important places at Lisbon. Now, almost of the tourist usually rent an apartment and made their own reservations, interacting with the local population and restaurants. They usually stay less than one week or a week.
Current waste management practices
The Urban Cleaning Service of the Lisbon City Council is responsible for the collection and transportation of the residual, organic and packaging waste (paper/cardboard, plastic and metal and glass). The best practices of the Lisbon City Council are the separation at the source (door-to-door collection of paper/cardboard and packages), distribution of specific and identified bins and the awareness campaign sessions in all the basic schools. The food waste collections have specific routes in the catering sector, namely restaurants, hotels, canteens, markets and other food retail and the final destination is for anaerobic digestion. The brown bins are locked to avoid contamination with waste from other producers. Attending local context and climate, this waste collection is performed six times a week to avoid unpleasant smells.
The collection by request allows the collection of certain types of waste that can´t be collected by the conventional ways. It enables also the differentiated treatment and valorisation of a waste fraction, instead of being mixed in the residual waste collection or dumped away in the streets. This collection system helped to increase the percentage of selectively collected waste. It is a widely spread and a frequent/daily service in the Municipality of Lisbon, which involves more than 90 requests per day. This service must be done within a period of 24 hours and is certified by quality standards (ISO 9000). The municipality offers a high density net of a bring bank system to collect glass packages, mainly with green igloo bins.
The tourism affects in general the waste management but the Lisbon City Council is implementing some prevention practices and strategies in some Hotels that are big producers, in order to increase the waste recycling rate. In the future we hope the local tour operators and tourism service providers will be cooperative and adaptive to new waste management solutions and practices.
Impact of tourism on waste management
Lisbon receives around 35 thousand visitors per day. This situation is beneficial economically but problematic for waste management, in general increases the quantities of waste produced in the city. The increase in tourism flow, have direct results in increasing the production of waste from the accommodation units (hotels and local accommodation). The buildings rehabilitation for the construction of new hotels and the increases number of tourism companies has a direct impact on local economy and there these activities generate waste.
Usually, the collection of waste is carried out separately on the streets every day, and in the summer there is reinforcement in the equipment and in the frequency collection. The tourists, who rent a house to live for a while, want to respect existing waste management practices. Some of them are sometimes confused but they Lisbon City Council usually receive some letters or calls asking to clarify the collection rules.
In the future, Lisbon city council intends to do some studies to observe and analyze the impact between tourism, the consumption and production of urban waste. Monitoring the correlation between the tourism’s impact on the local infrastructure and economy is also an aim to achieve.