Palma.—The Insular Councillor for the Environment, Catalina Soler, confirmed yesterday that the first shipment of waste from Italy, the UK and Ireland will arrive early next year and the shipments will unload in the Port of Alcudia before being transported by road to the Son Reus incinerator on the outskirts of Palma.

Since the Council of Majorca announced its intentions to treat foreign rubbish in order capitalise on the maximum potential of the plant which can treat 700'00 tons per year but is currently only handling half a million a big social and political debate has been sparked.

Soler stressed yesterday that all of the imported waste will be packed and transported in full compliance with EU rules and regulations and that the rubbish will pose no health or safety threat.

The Councillor said that the Council of Majorca is confident that the Balearic government will pass the necessary laws to allow the project to go ahead at the end of next month while in the meantime, all the ground work is being done to make sure that, as soon as the green light is given, shipments can begin arriving early next year. Soler explained that the countries of origin will cover the transport costs and, by using one of the island's quieter ports, the cost of unloading will be minimal.

According to the Councillor, each ton of waste will be worth between 70 to 80 euros to the Majorcan economy and during the first year, 100'000 tons of rubbish is expected to be imported and treated from overseas with that set to double in 2014.

The shipments will be postponed during the peak summer months because that is when the incinerator is running at full capacity handling all the waste generated here on Majorca, but for the rest of the year, imported rubbish will keep the plant running at maximum potential.