Experts and NGOs demand new public consultation on Serbia’s waste management plan
Non-governmental organizations and experts are demanding a new public consultation on the long-awaited proposal of Serbia’s waste management program 2021-2024, given that the ongoing debate has been timed in haste and in a non-transparent manner. The consultation ends on October 8. In addition to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, you can send your comments to Balkan Green Energy News, which will publish them all.
Much of the interested public only became aware of the public consultation two days before an online conference organized by the ministry on October 1. Those who attended the event noted that the conference announcement lacked a link to the document itself, which was instead available in another section of the ministry’s website.
The public learned of the public consultation just two days before an online conference
Participants also criticized the ministry’s limited communication on such an important issue, noting that the public should have been informed via media, social media and the ministry’s website much sooner given the complexity of the 430-page document.
The proposal for the waste management program in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2021-2024 is the main document for the planning of waste management in the country, which has more than 3,000 illegal landfills, where several unsanitary landfills have been in operation. fire last summer, where the flow of hazardous waste is not transparent, and which still has no solution for the management of packaging waste.
Tanasković: Stakeholders had sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the proposal
While admitting that the conference should have been announced earlier, Jelena Tanasković, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, also claims that all stakeholders had enough time to familiarize themselves with the contents of the proposal since the document was published on the website of the ministry. September 16. She also specifies that the public consultation, which was originally scheduled to end on October 5, has been extended until October 8.
To help all stakeholders make their voices heard amid the crisis surrounding the public consultation, Balkan Green Energy News invites anyone interested in this issue to send us their comments. All comments will be posted on our web portal.
Aarhus centers: public consultation process should be repeated
The network of Aarhus centers in Serbia said the hasty and insufficiently transparent way in which the public consultation was organized violated a number of legally binding documents transposed into Serbian law, including the Aarhus Convention , which deals with public participation in environmental decision-making.
The ministry is invited to publish projections of the effects of the proposal
The Aarhus centers are also asking the ministry to issue a new invitation and extend the duration of the public consultation to at least 30 days. The ministry is also invited to provide an ex ante analysis of the intended effects of the proposal during the new public consultation.
Kristina Cvejanov: public consultation without interested public and experts
Waste management consultant Kristina Cvejanov said organizing public consultations without interested public and experts in the era of modern communications is unacceptable.
Organizations and institutions representing stakeholder interests were not invited to the online conference
She also noted that organizations and institutions representing stakeholder interests – such as local governments, utilities, businesses, the recycling industry, consumer associations and civil society organizations – should have been invited directly to the conference.
The public has been waiting for this proposal since the country’s waste management strategy expired in 2019, she said.
What does the proposal contain?
Explaining the proposal, Jelena Tanasković said that Serbia generates 12 million tons of waste per year, including 2 million tons of municipal waste. The country has 10 sanitary landfills, which handle 440,000 tonnes of waste, she said. The biggest problem, however, is the fact that there are 2,170 recorded illegal dumpsites, even though the actual number of such sites is estimated to be over 3,500.
To develop a sustainable waste management system, Serbia needs to align its regulatory framework with EU directives, and this is what the program aims to achieve, she says.
The regional landfill system will be replaced by a system of regional recycling centers
One of the main changes that will be introduced with the proposed program is the shift from the system of regional sanitary landfills to a system of regional recycling centers, which will involve the separate collection, sorting and recycling of waste, as well as the treatment of waste. non-recyclable waste. .
Tanasković said a loan agreement will be signed this year with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to finance the construction of eight regional recycling centers, which will cover 50 municipalities. She also said that more such centers will be built after the first eight are completed.
The proposed program aims to divide Serbia into regions in order to reduce the amounts of untreated waste and advance the application of circular economy principles, she said.
Kuzmanović: the proposal aims to introduce a deposit system
Snežana Kuzmanović, head of the waste management department at the ministry, said the plan is to introduce a waste deposit system, in addition to recycling centers, as 90% of packaging waste needs to be recycled. This, she said, calls for a new packaging and packaging waste law, and a task force has already been set up to draft the bill.
The objective of the program is also to reduce the number of regional landfills and to introduce the principles of the circular economy and waste prevention.
Cvejanov: the proposal does not deal with single-use plastics and oxo-degradable bags
Kristina Cvejanov noted that the waste management program proposal is hardly aligned with the new EU directives as it does not address the issue of single-use plastics and allows the use of oxo-degradable plastic bags, which Serbia has declared “biodegradable” and which were banned in EU member states from July 3 this year.