Jacobo Moreno Lampaya: “I would like marine pollution to be dealt with in depth at the Bilbao Congress”

Jacobo Moreno Lampaya is a ICAI engineer with 20 years of experience in the design, operation and optimization of industrial plants, and 15 years in waste treatment facilities.

Currently, he works in Valoriza Servicios Medioambientales of the SACYR group and is chairman of the Technical Committee of the 2019 World Waste Congress in Bilbao, organized by the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA).

He is a member of different working groups within the ISWA, in recycling processes, waste-to-energy (WtE), landfill and climate change.

Jacobo is also the author of multiple patents for waste treatment and industrial reliability.


After the deadline for submitting abstracts, what is your assessment on the proposals received to present at the ISWA2019 Congress in Bilbao?

We see that there are many very interesting abstracts, but now we must select through them because, obviously, not all of them fit. We will make a format to accommodate the presentation of more ideas, but as far as the technical presentation is concerned, we will have no choice but to make a selection. Normally, the Congress will fit about 150, discounting those who enter into sessions organized by the ISWA working groups.

How do you explain the difference in the number of proposals between some topics and others?

Certainly there will be topics with greater participation than others. There is a series of contents that are already very hackneyed and, in which, it is more difficult to develop innovation or fresh news, things that are really groundbreaking, such as landfill management, even though it is the main waste management in the world. Because there are landfills all over the world, but it is an operation that is already very well defined. On the contrary, all technological management, everything related to the application of industry 4.0, including landfills, is the disruptor of the current Congress and it has also been of recent Congresses

What do you think will be the main theme of the Bilbao Congress?

Bilbao, being a seafaring city, with a historical link between sailors and naval heroes.  I would like one of the star topics to be to demystify and put into reality the problem of marine litter and marine pollution, because an enormous amount of resources and political and human effort is being lost in cleaning up the sea and very little in preventing it from being polluted, tackling the root of the problem which is uncontrolled dumping. I would like this issue to be one of the objectives.

On the other issue, the modernization of the industry. We are an industry with relatively little innovation, in the sense of embracing and applying new technologies. And yet, we are the industry where these technologies could probably have the greatest effect, due to the complexity of the industry and the heterogeneity of what we are dealing with, which is waste.

Modern technologies are no longer automatisms, as they were in Henry Ford’s time, when it was a question of automating a line, but they admit chaos. New technology, artificial intelligence, organizes chaos. I think it is very important that the sector learns, gets to know and begins to interrelate those who are developing new technologies with those who need it and do not yet know it.

There will be a specific Ibero-American session in Spanish at this Bilbao Congress. What prompted the organization to include this session?

Historically, ATEGRUS maintains a close link with South America, where it actively collaborates in the promotion of technical associations that bring together local actors. Regarding whether there are more or less developed countries or areas in terms of waste treatment, I would like to identify the four levels of economy that Hans Rosling proposes as a new measure of world development. In general, the world is much more developed than we think, in what we call the developed world. With this model, the world is perceived as a place where large populations are developing, and they are going to demand an improvement in the quality of services, and waste is an exponential factor related to economic development.

The issue of waste treatment has historically been dominated by European countries that have a non-generalizable idiosyncrasy. That have already developed a management model, and collection and treatment standards based on a twentieth century design that has to be redefined from scratch for the new opportunities that are being produced. We cannot apply scales to copy a model of a European city of 3 M inhabitants to apply to a city of 30 million.  The solution must be rewritten. And in October, Bilbao will be the center of this debate where East and West, Asia and America will come together.

Are these differences reproduced in the ISWA scheme?

ISWA has probably reproduced this asymmetry between more and less developed countries, but what has been done, especially in recent years, is to provide the means to minimize it. For several years there have been a number of initiatives to enhance the local development of ISWA. The countries of Southeast Asia, Asia, Africa and South America each have a representative who is permanently invited to ISWA matters to give their opinion and facilitate that communication; they have been given access and have a permanent presence on the ISWA Council to express their opinion and make their contributions.

Therefore, ISWA cannot be accused of a certain Eurocentrism

Historically, this association originated in Europe and although it always has an internationalist vocation, it does not quite convince the rest of the world. But it must be said that in the rest of the world they did not have problems with waste, there was “little” and it was mostly natural, it is thrown into a river or the sea and disappears, the problem appears when that residue is no longer biodegradable and does not disappear. Perhaps there is a certain Eurocentrism, but what happens is that the Eurocentric’s themselves try to avoid it. I would like to say that for many years now the aim of the ISWA has been to prevent this. But you need others to join you.

Can you summarize the structure of ISWA?

ISWA is an association of professionals, who collaborate in personal and industrial development. There are ten working groups that are permanent and have an established agenda of meetings; basically there are two meetings a year. They can be in electronically, as the climate change group is now doing, which is also a way of reducing the carbon footprint.

Each group has a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman who lead the group’s activity. Based on their proposals, or those of the members of the group, a series of researches are developed, which can be a compilation or revision of what exists to produce disclosure documents; they seek a level of disclosure or more technical learning than an academic level. Therefore, is about collecting technical or academic dissemination material and make it available to the general public. Personally, I am in four working groups: landfills; energy recovery from waste; minimization of recycling; and climate change.

In any case, external experts or reputable professionals can also be invited to favor or enrich the group.

ISWA has a highly qualified and permanent technical team, which is the Technical Secretariat that unites and coordinates us all, solving all the problems organizing and managing the day to day.

How would you encourage someone, who doesn’t know you, to participate in ISWA2019 in Bilbao?

I would tell them that the ISWA2019 congress is the first door through which you can enter, know all the working groups, know all the activities that are done and is the gateway to collaborate with the organization. I started in the ISWA in the Congress of Brazil; there I approached the president of the ISWA and I asked him “how I can take advantage of this whole ISWA movement that seems so good?” And he said, “Get into a working group”. I got into four and indeed ISWA is ultimately it’s working groups. Congress is the showcase, the place where we put everything in common, where we all get together and learn a lot, but you have to follow up all year round.

Do you think that the celebration of ISWA2019 in Bilbao will leave its mark on the city?

I believe that in Bilbao the Congress will transcend. It’s still early; for it to make the news we need more proximity to the event, but I’m already noticing it in the media, in Spain… you are already beginning to see people who are aware and interested, people in the sector are already starting to know about the Congress.

I believe that for the city it could, undoubtedly, be a turning point because Bilbao is a dynamic city, cradle of some of the heroes of my youth, and after the work of cleaning up the estuary and restructuring an industrial and polluting area, has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity for regeneration.

This is the congress about one of the activities that mobilizes the greatest volume of materials, and which forms an unavoidable part of the radical change that involves replacing the linear paradigm of production with that of circular economy, and for at least a week Bilbao is going to be the world epicenter of waste management.

You can read this interview in Spanish at this link






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