The construction of the first site in the country where waste is to be disposed and recycled in accordance with European standards, is desperately late. Although the Municipality of Sveti Nikole in February this year agreed on the establishment of the Public inter-regional enterprise for waste management “ECO EAST-NORTH-EAST” , for the seventh month now, the 18 municipalities from the East and Northeast Planning Region cannot agree on who should be the Director – the municipality on which the regional landfill will be located (Sveti Nikole) or the municipality that generates the most waste (Kumanovo), reports Meta.mk.
The Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning confirms for “Meta.mk” that none of the municipalities were able to hold council meetings and nominate people, so it remains for this regional enterprise to be further formed after the local elections.
“We hope that it will not affect the process too much, although there are remarks from the EU regarding the slowness in the implementation on behalf of the municipalities”, admits the Ministry.
The establishment of a regional waste management system in these two regions is financed with grants in the amount of 40 million euros by the EU. The entire documentation has already been prepared, equipment and vehicles for waste selection and transport have been procured, but the key issue regarding the construction of the regional landfill near the village of Meckuevci, Municipality of Sveti Nikole, still remains.
“The agreement with the most favourable bidder to be signed in October 2021, with which the construction will actually start. A condition from Brussels is for the enterprise to be established because it is actually the end user”, informed for “Mеtа.mk“ at the end of last year Zivka Mihajlova, Head of the Professional Service of the Inter-Municipal Board for Waste management in the East Planning Region and Head of the Department for Inspection Works in the Municipality of Probistip.
The newest date that the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning has is the beginning of 2022, as a period when the tender would be announced for construction of the regional landfill that would serve about 370.000 inhabitants and would have a total capacity to receive 900.000 cubic meters of waste.
In addition to the landfill that will meet the strict EU standards, separate waste treatment plants would be built at a site in Meckuevci, which implies mechanical pre-treatment with chopping the waste, processing of ferrous metals and screening, wet fraction composting, refining and maturation. There will be a special plant for sorting paper, plastic, glass and metal waste, where recycling of the materials would be performed. There would also be a small plant for composting of garden waste on this location.
This practically means that North Macedonia would receive a contemporary waste factory for the first time, in which only a certain percentage of the collected waste would actually be deposited at the site, while the rest of the selected waste would pass the process of processing.
The Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning did not have a specific answer to the question of “Meta.mk” as to what would happen if mayors of different political parties were to win the upcoming local elections in the two planning regions, who would oppose the construction of the regional landfill.
“We hope that it won’t come to this, because primarily it concerns the national interest (not political), is said in the response of this Ministry.
The Northeast and East Planning Region are not the only ones in the country where there is outsmarting and quarrels between the municipalities themselves in relation to the establishment of a regional waste management system. The Polog planning region is facing almost an identical problem, where there is an identical blockade in establishing an inter-regional waste management enterprise. Just as the EU is seriously interested to invest in the East and Northeast, Switzerland wants to invest in the regional waste management system in Polog.
The construction of regional landfills in these past years has faced numerous obstacles in other regions of the country as well – in the Municipality of Debarca in the Southwest Planning Region, as well as the Municipality of Rosoman in the Vardar Planning Region. It has already become a practice for interested investors who want to solve waste management problems of municipalities to give up due to the mutual quarrels of the municipalities.
In the meanwhile, latest data of the State Statistical Office show that investments and costs for waste treatment in the country have been declining from year to year. Last year we invested only 25,9 million euros in waste treatment, whereas a year before that 30,9 million euros were invested. The greatest amount of investments and costs for waste treatment are noted in 2018 - 117,8 million euros and 2017– 126,6 million euros. In addition to all other items, these values include investments in the regional waste management systems.
Let’s remind, “Meta.mk” has already in several occasions reminded that the quantity of communal waste generated in the country is continuously growing, which last year reached an enormous amount of 913.033 tons. However, together with the increase of kilograms of garbage that we generate as citizens, appropriate contemporary regional landfills are not being built, where waste would be selected and recycled/composted. As a result, illegal landfills are constantly appearing throughout the country, which are a great danger to the health of the citizens and to the pollution of water, soil and air.
Translation: N. Cvetkovska