The Polyanska amalgamated hromada of the Zakarpattia Oblast does everything possible for the local rivers to stop being the “main rubbish duct” of the Ukrainian Carpathians.
By Dmytro Synyak
Mountain regions are most vulnerable to “waste problem”. Garbage trucks, which usually run smoothly in plain villages, do not go to the mountains, where often there are no proper roads, and if they are there, then the cost of waste transportation becomes stratospheric.
Ivan Drohobetskyi, head of the Polyanska AH of the Zakarpattia Oblast, is categorical in addressing the waste problem.
“Although waste comes to us from the top, we carefully clean the banks of our rivers – the Velyka Pynia and Mala Pynia, the influx of Latorytsia,” he says. “10 years ago, after flooding, polyethylene bags, hung on all the trees like flags, and the shores were terribly cluttered. Now the situation has radically changed. In addition, we initiated the process of constructing water treatment facilities in Bushtyno, Velyke Berezne, Volovets, Irshava, Mizhhirya, Perechyn, Strozhynets and, of course, Polyana. The estimated cost of construction reaches 23.8 million euros...
Tysa banks near Shayan, 100 km from Polyana
At the same time, the Polyanska AH did everything to stop local residents from dumping garbage in the rivers. To do this, a waste collection system was set up. Two brand new garbage trucks – Mercedes and MAZ – visit each village of the Polanska hromada on a daily basis, take away waste from the door of almost every home. For the peasants themselves it is free of charge, and for the village council it costs UAH 100 thousand per month, excluding the cost of garbage trucks.
All illegal landfills in the Polyanska AH were liquidated, and this was very difficult.
Ivan Drohobetskyi puts a rough folder on the table. It contains a project for a waste recycling plant worth EUR 85 million with a large photo of factory buildings on the cover.
We saw such a plant in the Slovenian town of Puconci, and now we want to build a similar one here,” says the hromada head.
Waste recycling in Puconci (Slovenia)
Where can hromada find EUR 85 million for a waste recycling plant and another EUR 29 million for wastewater treatment plants? Ivan Drohobetskyi, who is also the head of the Zakarpattia Oblast branch of the Association of Amalgamated Hromadas of Ukraine, does not consider this a big problem.
According to Mr. Drohobetskyi, the main factor for obtaining money for the construction of the plant and treatment facilities is not so much the practices of the Association as the geographical location of his hromada.
“I thank God for the fact that our rivers flow to Europe,” he smiles. “Since it makes our projects real. Hungary is the most affected by Ukrainian garbage among all other European countries. Hungarians are forced to keep a fleet that only cleans the Danube from our waste. Each year, 6 to 10 million euros are spent to mainten this fleet...
According to Ivan Drohobetskyi, Hungary also has one of the largest European foundations – the so-called Danube Strategy Programme. It includes 14 countries in the Danube River Basin. Among the Ukrainian rivers, Tysa is the largest river in the Danube. Latorytsia, Borzhava and Uzh are its affluents.
Waste Management Centre in the Slovenian town of Puconci
The centre was built during 2007-2013 by the Municipality of Puconci in cooperation with 20 other local municipalities on the territory of a 14-hectare granite quarry. At the first stage of the project, a variety of European funds earmarked 3.3 million euros. Another 11 million euros were allocated by the municipalities. The second stage of the plant construction, also funded by municipalities and European funds, cost EUR 24 million. The plant has a warehouse for special (hazardous) waste, several sorting lines, composting equipment, mechanical and biological waste treatment units, powerful wastewater treatment facilities, etc. Interestingly, the plant was built without any protests from local residents. Now it serves over 1,000 square km, populated by about 130 thousand people from 27 rural hromadas. 80% of waste that gets to the plant is subsequently sent for re-use. Every month the residents-users of the plant services pay 3 euros per household for the waste disposal, removal and dumping.
The EU Strategy for the Danube Region is a long-term policy of the European Union to address the Danube macro-regions. It was dopted by the European Commission on 8 December 2011, supported by the European Parliament and the EU Council in 2011, and developed in the light of the Baltic Strategy experience.
The work of the Danube Strategy involves 8 EU member states (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia) and 6 non-member countries (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Moldova, Ukraine). The Ukrainian part of the Danube Region covers an area of 68.1 thousand square km with a total population of 5.9 million people and is represented by four oblasts: the Odesa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi and Zakarpattia. More than 100 billion euros are allocated for the programme.
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