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Issue of utilizing garbage is becoming an ecological threat in Ukraine

Author : Olena Holubeva

11:29, 20 July 2017
Issue of utilizing garbage is becoming an ecological threat in Ukraine

Author : Olena Holubeva

Every year, more than 27 thousand garbage dumps are unofficially created in Ukraine

11:29, 20 July 2017

 Read the original text at 112.ua.

 

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High hopes were placed on the National Waste Management Strategy until 2030. When discussing the issues of garbage almost all experts told us - the Strategy will be elaborated soon and it will become clear where we are going to do. The same mood prevailed in the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where the Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Ostap Semerak was to present this sacred manuscript.

It should be noted that for 25 years Ukraine does not know what to do with garbage. Prior to the National Strategy, no document was adopted that would define an integrated approach in this matter. At the same time, the dominant approach remains burial of waste at landfills and dumps. And all in one heap, as a rule, without sorting, because of which every year huge volumes of recyclable materials (paper, glass, plastic) are lost that could be recycled for the benefit of the economy. In 2016, only 5.8% of the waste was recycled, including 2.71% (1.3 million cubic meters) burned, 0.003% composted. The rest (94%) was sent to landfills and dumps. As of 2016 there are 5,470 landfills in Ukraine, and these are only official data. Of these, 305 units (5.6%) are overloaded, and 30% do not meet environmental safety standards, the text of the National Strategy says.

Related: Ukraine’s government to allocate $1,8 million for Lviv garbage disposal

Representative of the Ministry of Ecology (the head of the department of ecological safety Serhiy Lukyanchuk) who attended the event specified that there are now 6,000 polygons in the country. But they are "let's say, official." In addition to this, there are already more than 200,000 spontaneous landfills in Ukraine, "where garbage is thrown out directly in the forest, or on the river bank, or along the trails." More than 27 thousand dumps are created annually, due to insufficient control or due to the lack of a proper system.

At the same time, 360 million tons of waste annually appear in Ukraine, of which about 13 million tons of solid household waste, the Ministry is sure. However, in the text of the strategy there is a reservation that "state accounting and statistics of household waste in Ukraine have significant shortcomings." In statistical reporting and regulations on the handling of domestic waste operate both in volume and weight categories. Leads to significant errors in estimates, forecasts."

"At the moment we do not understand what is morphology of garbage in the landfills, in industrial enterprises that transport this garbage, where it is disposed of and by what technology," Lukyanchuk admitted.

Related: Lviv residents protest at city council over garbage issue, - video

At the same time, he voiced the main theses of the Strategy: coverage of the services by organized collection of waste to 84% until 2022 and to 90% until 2030. The increase in the level of coverage of services by separate waste collection will make up 48% of the total population until 2030. In addition, about 200 units of waste transfer stations are planned to be constructed before 2030 in order to reduce transportation costs, as well as the commissioning of 49 new sorting lines by 2030 (taking into account 22 operating in operation there will be 71 lines). Here the question is, if there are so many lines, why only 5.8% of the waste is processed?

They plan to achieve processing of 60% goods up to 2024, construction of the first stage of the network of regional polygons by 2024 year (there should be approximately 150 of them). Obviously, the state is not ready yet to abandon the system of landfills and switch to other one, using more expensive technologies for recycling. Simply, instead of old polygons, it is proposed to build new ones.

Lukyanchuk noted that the number of all these important things (landfills, marshalling yards) will certainly be adjusted at the local level after the strategy is adopted and, accordingly, the amount of investments that the Ministry is not ready to announce now will change.

Related: Garbage in Ukraine: How Lviv and the whole country will solve the problem

The text of the Strategy states that "financing of its activities will be carried out at the expense of state and local budgets within the budget assignments for the relevant year, the funds of business entities, international technical assistance, contributions from interested international organizations, as well as from other sources not prohibited by law."

It is noteworthy that quite unexpectedly, in the text of the Strategy presented by the Ministry of the American CCI, an item appeared on the introduction of a certain environmental tax. "It is written that the manufacturer can realize the expanded responsibility independently, either through organizations of expanded responsibility, or through payment of environmental tax. I am confused by the question of environmental tax - what are we talking about? We, all the enterprises, already pay an environmental tax," said Anna Tarantsova, chairman of the working group of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine on waste management. She noted that the text of the Strategy, which was developed in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, does not even mention any tax.

Other participants of the event also said to representatives of the Ministry: if the tax is still introduced, it will be like the previous years, when taxes and charges were imposed on the alleged solution of issues with garbage, and then the money disappeared.

Related: Garbage removal works resumed in Lviv

By the way, about schemes of earnings on garbage. Of course, there are many such schemes, and previously we have written about them. The most primitive is lack of a system of weighing the garbage and strict control over it. No one knows if there are five or ten tons buried in the landfill, you can only know for what amount is officially paid.

Lukyanchuk has announced another interesting and previously widely known public scheme. It is noteworthy that it is not about ordinary rotten tomatoes, but about unsafe waste. According to the definition contained in the text of the strategy, "waste that has physical, chemical, biological or other unsafe properties that create or can pose a significant danger to the environment and human health, require special methods of handling them." Unsafe wastes dominate in Ukraine, which contain heavy metals (chrome, lead, nickel, cadmium, mercury). Mainly, these are wastes of ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, chemical and engineering industries (galvanic production).

Related: 60 tons of Lviv garbage found near Kyiv

The share of enterprises that are licensed as utilizers of such waste accounts for no more than 2%. Where is the rest? It turns out that dumping prices, enterprises that have a license to collect and store unsafe waste, take their larger volume on themselves. "They leave them to be stored in abandoned factories, and they are stored there for dozens of years. These enterprises are not obliged and do not transfer such wastes for disposal," Lukyanchuk said. “Over time, they simply throw them out and there are such unpleasant surprises that social activists often find."

According to the data provided in the Strategy, in total there are about 300 non-hazardous waste accumulators in Ukraine "which were constructed without adequate technical protection and became a source of ecological danger on a regional scale." The total amount of accumulation of unsafe waste amounts already to 5 billion tons, and the current expenditure on their disposal and storage is about 600 million UAH.

To break this scheme, the Ministry proposes to establish an effective accounting and control system (a special document to track the movement of unsafe waste) in order to track their movement through the country. Because now anyone who has a car can take unsafe waste and transport it to some enterprise or somewhere to leave them.

Related: Lviv administration to take on garbage problem

Also, according to Lukyanchuk, tariffs for the disposal of unsafe and domestic waste should be regulated by the state. "Luminescent lamps, for example, with a minimum justified tariff of UAH 6. In Prozorro system there were proposals both for UAH 2 and even for UAH 0.8, which makes it impossible for real utilizers in this market to engage in environmentally safe disposal. We cannot guarantee good conditions to the foreign investors (capacity utilization), their minimum cost will be twice as high as the commercial price in our market, which does not allow us to develop this industry," the official said.

Proceeding from this, it is even more difficult to predict whether the provisions of the Strategy presented today would be really implemented.

Related: Lviv to be cleared from garbage within two weeks

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