Only one of 12 garbage dumps in Crimea has an official license. According to experts, if a full cycle from collection to recycling is not implemented on the peninsula in the short term, Crimea will be clogged with garbage.
A Little Bit of Statistics and Facts
By 2018, according to the reform and 15 mln rubles ($188,158.5) invested in it, a pattern of six territorial clusters with complexes for separate garbage sorting and the so-called technological greenhouses for recycling should have been fully introduced on the peninsula. That is, by the date of opening of the Crimean bridge, the peninsula should have been rid of landfills. The forest and parkland zones and the slopes of the mountains near the main roads were to be free of logjams of garbage, too.
According to the preliminary project, the processed solid waste in the form of recycled materials, biofuels and extracted gas should have brought additional profits to the regional budget. However, the Crimea's sanitation plan worth 15 mln rubles did not work for some reason.
As for garbage dumps in Crimea, they could work without a license until January 1, 2020. In total, there are 12 official garbage dumps on the peninsula. Today, only one of them has a license. And only two of them have received a favorable conclusion after the assessment of environmental impact.
Garbage dumps are overfilled because waste has been accumulating there for decades. Gaspra, Sudak and Alushta landfills have been functioning at ten tenths. They are not equipped with protective screens and necessary engineering facilities. The very problem of full landfills affects directly the rest of the natural zone of the peninsula, as part of the waste gets into streams and flows into the sea. That is, those areas where holidaymakers come in summer are mostly polluted. Although they should meet sanitary and environmental standards.
According to Gennady Narayev, acting minister of ecology and natural resources of the republic of Crimea, in 2020, the authorities hope to reclaim two spent landfills in Sudak and Belogorsk with an area of 7 ha of solid municipal waste under the Chistaya Strana [Clean Country] regional project of the Ecology national project.
In addition, 103 illegal dumps were registered in the resort areas in Yalta, Gaspra and Alushta last year. According to statistics, at the moment, more than 30 tonnes of solid waste are located in Crimea, and only 10% of them is processing. Not only the peninsula, but also the sea in the coastal waters are filled with waste. Plastic bottles and bags are the main problem. Air pollution is another issue to be fixed.
However, after the new "garbage collection reform" has been adopted, the situation will have to be changed. Otherwise, it may become extremely critical. Tatiana Bobr, head of the department of geo-ecology at the Tauride Academy of the Vladimir Vernadsky Crimean Federal University, said in an interview with Radio Sputnik in Crimea that in five years’ time, Crimea may be filled with waste. At the same time, she stressed that landfills are overfilled, and the construction of sorting stations will not solve the problem. It is necessary to create a full cycle from collection to recycling. She said that the Black Sea is also dramatically polluted. At least 90,000 tonnes of waste floats in it, and most of it is plastic.
Background to Garbage Collection Reform
Let's consider the background to garbage collection reform using the example of Sevastopol, one of the most important cities of Crimea. Back in 2006, the head of the state department of ecology said in an interview with the Slava Sevastopolya newspaper about an acute and critical problem that waste from landfills gets into the soil and then through it into sea water forming chemical filtrates that contain heavy metals. Organization of delivery, maintenance of the territory around the landfill and the thickness of the insulating soil do not meet sanitary standards. At that time, the first line of the landfill was already 90% full.
The first attempts to build a waste processing plant for the Sevastopol landfill were made back to 2003 and 2004. At that time, the Austrian company offered Sevastopol’s city administration to build a plant within the limits of the city as the transport routes to the landfill of solid waste in the Pervomayskaya Balka were not enough for them. However, this proposal was not adopted as the construction of a waste processing plant near the center of the hero-city is, mildly speaking, not environmentally friendly.
In autumn 2009, the project for construction of a similar landfill near Lazarevskoye Admiralteystvo, Sevastopol’s shipyard, was adopted. The expected capacity of the plant for processing the solid domestic waste is 900,000 cubic meters or 200,000 tonnes of waste per year. However, soon the developer went bankrupt.
In 2010, representatives of Canadian garbage disposal companies made a new proposal to deputy chairman of the city administration and head of the central office of housing and public utilities. The project by Canadians St. Davidson, Gilles Duprey and Jean-Serge Thibault suggested construction of a plant for high conversion of solid waste into quality diesel fuel. However, the deal did not take place for unknown reasons.
At the end of 2011, a new attempt was made. At that time, negotiations had already been held with the ASA Group company from Austria. A large recycling complex with its own transport fleet and containers for separate waste collection was to be built. However, it fell into oblivion and remained only a proposal on paper.
Already after Crimea became part of the Russian Federation, in 2015 the city administration announced the construction of a plant and the third line of the dumping site in the Pervomayskaya Balka. This announcement coincided with an environmental incident. Local residents sounded the alarm because of black slush flowing from the landfill into the Chernaya River.
At the end of the same year, the third line of the landfill was put into operation. In a month an unpleasant incident happened again, and environmentalists sounded the alarm. Works at the landfill were carried out with violations of environmental and firefighting regulations.
Russian companies, in particular, PIK Group, also addressed the Sevastopol administration with an investment project of the waste processing plant. In the spring of 2017, the authorities of Sevastopol announced that they planned building a waste processing plant which will produce recyclable materials. The process was at the stage of searching for investors. However, no one wanted to invest in business in the region, which is under sanctions.
A new round started in 2017. In the autumn of that year, the authorities announced plans to build a plant that would produce electricity from waste in cooperation with the same Siberian PIK group of companies. The size of the declared investments amounted to 1.8 bln rubles ($22,579.02.)
It was supposed that this plant would be put into operation in 2020. However, like the previous projects, this one was suspended, too.
Despite the violations of the landfill’s maintenance that were detected more than once and an obvious threat to the environment, Sevastopol’s landfill still lacks even the most necessary equipment.
So what is the bottom line? The waste processing plant in Sevastopol is still planned to be built in the future, and the deadlines have been put off once again – this time, until 2022. According to CEO of Sevastopol Improvement, the city administration is ready to consider new projects and choose the one that will solve the problem of waste recycling in the most complete way.
This is the story of only one city and one landfill but the whole situation with garbage collection in the Crimea is not any better.
When is the Problem of Garbage Recycling to be Solved in Crimea?
The timeline for the garbage collection reform in the Crimea have been postponed already twice. At the moment, the implementation date has been shifted again. Communal services and administrations of settlements have been given two or three more years to equip garbage disposal sites. According to Andrey Nagibin, head of the Green Patrol organization, delays of this kind are just a waste of time as for the authorities each benefit such as extension of terms is another excuse not to address the problem. It makes sense because they are given a postponement once, then a second time and a third one... They expect it to be given next time, too.
According to the Green Patrol staff, the garbage collection reform on the peninsula is practically frozen. Neither the authorities nor entrepreneurs take the problem of pollution the peninsula seriously and do not know why it should be undertaken at all. Only environmentalists are worried: the Crimea risks turning into a big dump.
The only bright spot in the case of recycling and disposal of garbage is Simferopol’s businessman Alexey Cherkhanov who has been already building a network of recycling facilities. The modular factories will produce plastic and rubber from solid domestic waste which will be later used for the construction of playgrounds in Crimean cities. This project has been nominated for the Big Business award. However, this initiative is just a drop in the ocean and cannot solve the problem in its entirety on the peninsula.