Scottish Labour MSP Michael McMahon called for a national framework to guide waste management strategy and more clarity on planning guidelines with regard to waste incineration developments.
Mr McMahon was leading a debate on waste management on 15 September 2011.
Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said ministers only got involved in planning applications for waste incinerators when they were appealed or were of national interest and that the government wanted local accountability.
Mr Lochhead also pointed out that SEPA had said a modern incinerator would "take 120 years to create the same pollution as the Millenium fireworks display".
Scottish Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell called for a moratorium on incinerators.
Ms Mitchell said it is clear that the "priorities of waste management in the hierarchy are not being implemented" and there is "definite lack of meaningful consultation" with local communities.
Scottish Labour MSP Sarah Boyack told the chamber all parties were united behind the aim of a zero waste scotland but she said "the strategy is not being implemented at the moment".
Ms Boyack attacked the government saying the problem was "you're not delivering that, it's on your watch, it's your strategy and you have played around with the rules and that is why it won't succeed".