The legacy of the new Minister of the environment, or What is hiding under the garbage in Armenia

Nelli Danielyan, Sputnik

The perennial problem of export and garbage processing in Armenia is solved, as evidenced by a fairly rich international experience. Such opinion the President of the Association for sustainable human development, the ecologist Karine Danielyan said in an interview Sputnik Armenia.

Earlier, introducing the new Minister of the environment of Romanos Petrosyan apparatus of the Ministry, the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan said the need to solve a number of environmental problems, highlighting the issue of “uncontrollable amounts of garbage.” Will the new Minister to solve this problem, inherited from its predecessors, only time will tell.

Meanwhile, already the example of developed countries shows that recycling is not just useful, but also economically profitable business.

According to Danielyan, a major recycling plant can operate in Armenia, but to create it the government must give businesses some tax and other benefits.

“If the Prime Minister will approach the issue from the point of view of economic benefits, the business may be interested in. Perhaps at first the state will incur small losses, but it would start solving the problem. And then gradually it will be possible to solve economic problems,” she said.

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Another problem associated with the culture of trash. It is not only that people often throw garbage in the wrong places, but his sorting.


© Sputnik / Naira Melkumyan
Perepolneny dumpster in Nork (July 28, 2018).

However, as noted Danielyan, in recent years, and in this issue there are some changes. According to her, when the organization conducted a public opinion poll in 1990-ies, the majority of respondents were opposed to the sorting of waste. But a recent study showed a completely different picture.

“Imagine, 95% of respondents said that, of course, agree to sort the trash. People’s attitude towards this issue has changed,” – said the ecologist.

In addition, today in Armenia made some attempts to recycle garbage, but on a small scale. Danielyan said that she has long sorts of house rubbish, separating plastic bottles and paper. Representatives of processing companies from time to time come to her home to pick up the waste. But this is only isolated cases that do not yet affect the situation as a whole.

“Some steps have been taken, but it is extremely small, and given the current situation, we rank among the countries most backward in this matter,” she said.


© Sputnik / Andranik Ghazaryan
Overflowing trash in Yerevan

However, in Armenia there is a clandestine business. When visiting the large landfills can meet people who are engaged in waste sorting on site. They separate waste, be recycled, and place them in the specially issued to them bags. Where these wastes are sent and in what form then return the market is unknown.


© Sputnik / Vladimir Pirogov
The street theater action at the city dump in order to draw attention to the problem of landfill in Bishkek

As for large centralized waste recycling business in the country, the issue is in the spotlight of the authorities of Armenia for the past 20 years.

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In the early 2000-ies the Armenian government in the person of former Minister of nature protection Vardan Ayvazyan has even signed a contract with the Japanese company Shimizu. Initially the project involved the construction of a waste recycling plant near Nubarashen landfill site. And years later it turned out that the garbage will actually not be recycled, only disposed of. The landfill installed 3 expensive pistons, but 2 of them have not earned. On-site landfill to this day is burned only 1/3 of the accumulating biogas.


© Sputnik / Aram Nersesyan
Trash dump in Nubarashen

Another plan to save the Nubarashen was introduced in 2015, when the post of Minister of nature protection Aram Harutyunyan held, is now under investigation. The project cost 26 million euros for the construction of a new corresponding to modern standards, the landfill next to the current Nubarashen dump. Was planned to replace the current landfill to plant a garden, and the biogas does not burn and get electricity from it and build a power station with capacity of 1 megawatt. But the previous administration failed to implement this program.

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In 2018, current government of Armenia approved the proposal for the extension of the credit agreement, the “Program for solid waste management of Yerevan”, which was signed by the former leadership of the country with the European Bank for reconstruction and development (EBRD) in 2015, but never implemented.


© Sputnik / Aram Nersesyan
Trash dump in Nubarashen

Meanwhile, trash on the Nubarashen landfill is still not processed. Every year it becomes more and more. So, the dump is added 0.2 tons of waste per year or 0.6 kg per day per each resident of the capital.

And it is only in Yerevan. Meanwhile, the problem with export and processing of waste exists in the regions of Armenia. In the country a total of 793 of the community, and garbage only in 45 cities and a few villages. In other communities garbage thrown anywhere, at best it is burned.

Read original article in Russian language here.