Solid waste management problems and possible solutions
Currently the solid waste management (SWM) industry is not regulated in the RA, many of the shortcomings and problems existing in this field require immediate solution. Waste management quality is very low, garbage collection and transportation equipments were largely outdated and insufficient for regular service, and uncontrolled wastes accumulate in landfills that do not comply with technical standards. Naturally, all these have its negative impact on the environment safety: almost all the water objects in Armenia are contaminated by household waste and the forest areas and the rest of the areas are not free from it.
In 2012 the Asian Development Bank financed “Improvement of Armenia’s solid waste management grant program” aimed at definition and planning of the national strategic vision.
The draft project of solid waste management in Armeniahas been developed within the frames of this project called “Strategic Development Plan, a roadmap and a long-term investment plan” .
Mr. Artashes Bakhshyan, the deputy minister of the RA Ministry of territorial administration and emergency situations, presented to public the draft project on August 5 at the public discussion on “Solid waste management problems and possible solutions” held in Yerevan Aarhus Center.
The project proposes to build 5 regional sanitary landfills with European standards, which will serve the whole area of the Republic. Mr. Bakhshyan said that at first glance the project seems ideal, but there are items that are not accepted by them. First the issue of waste management tariffs: “This project is very expensive; it is possible that the garbage collection fee per person will make up 400 AMD after the implementation of the project, which will be available for our population. Second the sorting of garbage is not planned by the project: Mr. Bakhshyan said: in “Kotayk Solid Waste Management” project, the consultants hired by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has offered to refrain from sorting European standards, taking into account Georgia’s Rustavi city’s landfill practices, where the embedded sorting unit costs are more than the sort revenues.
Mrs. Karine Danielyan, president of the “Association for Sustainable Human Development” NGO, disagreed with this view, noting that the environmental aspect should be taken into consideration.
The participants stressed the importance to the waste sorting and recycling issues as a SWM component. Mr. Hrant Sargsyan, president of “Tapan eco club” NGO, noted that the idea of waste sorting should be sowed at a young age. He was against the idea of having 5 landfills in Armenia predicting a lot of issues in regard to waste removal. Mr. Sargsyan also invited to study the experience of Persia citing the fact that Tehran city has turned to the most clean city from the most polluted cities in a few years.
Mrs. Silva Ayvazyan, the coordinator of Yerevan Aarhus Center, also highlighted the eco educational issues noting that Aarhus Centres contribute to the presentation of the exemplary practices of the field via various eco educational activities emphasizing waste sorting, recycling issues. Silva Ayvazyan also proposed to include Armenia’s national strategy for solid waste management project in the Aarhus centers’ web site and provide wide awareness among the public. The project will be submitted to the RA Government after having been discussed with the interested parties.
The meeting was attended by the representatives of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations, Ministry of Nature Protection, Ministry of Urban Development, the National Assembly, NGOs, media representatives and citizens. It was organized by the “Association for Sustainable Human Development” NGO, implemented by the “Promotion of dialogue between the management system and the NGO sector in the RA” within the framework of the program “Rio + 20 “process, and with the support of Yerevan Aarhus Center.
Coordinator of Yerevan Aarhus Center
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Translated by Marine Mazmanyan