Romania recycles 1 pc of its waste, environment minister says

The 50 pc recycling target may be attained only 20 years from now.

Environment Minister Laszlo Borbely stated on Tuesday that Romania recycles only 1 per cent of its waste, the rest being “stored” in garbage dumps. The Minister made the statement during a conference on waste management issues. The statement relies both on internal statistics and on the results of a survey that the EU conducted in 2008. The survey placed Romania and Bulgaria on the last places in the EU in what concerns waste management.

In this context the Environment Minister mentioned the Integrated Waste Management System (SIMD) that should be implemented in each County by 2015. “We’ve closed down 137 storage sites until now and we have to close down another 100. I hope that with the help of EU funds we will implement the Integrated Waste Management System in all Counties by 2015,” Borbely stated. He also announced that Romania is a top performer in what concerns tapping European funds for waste management.

Ionut Georgescu, director of the Ministry’s Waste and Hazardous Substances Management Office, stated in his turn that the 50 per cent recycling target set for 2020 is “impossible to attain.” “It’s impossible to reach that level. That’s it, we lost that possibility long ago,” Ionut Georgescu stated for Mediafax. He claimed that in order to attain this goal there is the need to come up with a “realistic” plan whose deadline could be 2030.

In his turn, Silvian Ionescu, general commissioner of the National Office for Environment Protection, stated that by storing waste Romania currently does nothing but what it did “during Ceausescu’s era,” namely creating “a huge pile of polluting waste.” Ionescu underlined that a storage tax would be a solution in order to prevent other EU member states’ waste being stored in Romania. “By 2013 we have the right to receive no shipment of waste to be stored on our territory. After that year however we could see shipments of waste coming in to be stored here because the price here is lower than abroad, and we won’t have the right to refuse that. In order to avoid that we have to have a storage tax similar to the one in other EU states,” Ionescu stated.

According to Eurostat, only 1 per cent of the 382 kilograms of waste that each Romanian living in a large city produced was recycled in 2008, the rest being stored, permanently or temporarily, in garbage dumps. According to the document, in 2008 each EU citizen produced 524 kilograms of waste, 40 per cent of that quantity ending up in garbage dumps, 20 per cent being burnt, 23 per cent recycled and 17 per cent destroyed through decaying processes.

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