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Welsh people's attitude blamed for poor performance

Local authorities in Wales have turned on their residents in response to a critical review of the country's waste management.

The Audit Commission in Wales' report Waste Management: A Challenging Agenda for the Welsh Public Sector said some councils had failed to give waste management the priority it deserved and that many lacked sufficient resources to deal with the issues they were faced with.

However, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) reacted by saying that although it agreed that Wales faced a major challenge, there was a risk that local authorities focused on tackling the symptoms rather than the causes of the problem.

WGLA environment spokesman Richard Parry Hughes said: "Our priority must be to change the hearts and minds of the Welsh public. To move away from a disposable society to one where we get people to reduce, reuse and recycle."

Overall, Welsh local authorities exceeded their 15% recycling target, on average recycling and composting 18% of municipal waste.

However, the report criticised councils for not recording their waste recycling statistics effectively.

It added that while authorities in Wales had worked hard to improve waste services, improvement could have been faster if authorities had greater access to examples of good practice in the UK and internationally.

According to Hughes, however, it was by promoting the three Rs of recycling - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - that progress would be made.

He added: "By encouraging a new attitude to waste, we can also build support for new waste infrastructure and ensure that we are at the forefront of a new industrial revolution where waste is a resource."

The primary vehicle for this promotion of issues is Waste Awareness Wales, which runs a national media campaign to encourage recycling.

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