In 1986, shortly after joining the European Community, Portugal changed its waste management policy: the government chose to adopt co-incineration technology, in accordance with Directive 94/67/CE, instead of building an incineration plant in Estarreja. In 1996, it created the Institute for Waste (as part of the Portuguese Environmental Agency) and began to define the strategy on industrial (hazardous and non-hazardous) and urban waste, including waste from the healthcare sector. As the priority was to "add value" to industrial waste by using it as fuel or raw materials, burning the waste in cement kilns became a "perfect solution": it meant using less fuel for cement production and allowed for the reuse of dangerous waste. Some kinds of waste must be treated before being used in this process and, in this case, cement kilns must be adapted. In 1996, two national cement companies, Secil and Cimpor, in association with French-based Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux created a consortium named Scoreco. In July 1997, Scoreco conducted a study on waste production in the country and the types of waste that could be burnt in cement kilns (16,000 tons of waste per year). Protests took place between 1997 and 2000 in Maceira and, with greater intensity, between 1998 and 2002 in Souselas because of the air pollution and the noise from the plant. The epidemiological study in Souselas reportedly shows that the incidence of tumors and respiratory diseases among members of the local community is higher than in other communities in the central region of Portugal. In 1998, a coalition of NGOs and local institutions in Coimbra called the Committee for the Struggle against Co-incineration (Comissão de Luta contra a Coincineração) was created. Its activities included preparing scientific arguments to justify the demand for an epidemiological study, obtaining 50,000 signatures for a petition defending the suspension of the project (one of the biggest petitions ever in Portugal), organizing street demonstrations and coordinating efforts with Greenpeace and local institutions. In 1999, the government created an independent scientific commission to analyze the process. In 2000, it changed the location of the plant from Maceira to Outão. That was when protests in the new location began and then continued for two years. The choice of location was controversial, as it is inside the Arrábida Nature Park. At the end of December 2001, a new government was elected. It cancelled the co-incineration plan and began to develop a new strategy for waste management. Today, waste is burned in the cement kilns of Maceira and Outão (owned by Secil) and Alhandra (owned by Cimpor), but no conflict has developed at the local, regional or national level.