The Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal chaired a conference call aimed to settle problematic issues related to the prevention of solid household waste in the Tisza River and other water basins, in the national and transboundary aspects.
The meeting was attended by the following officials: Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Roman Abramovsky, Head of Lviv Regional State Administration Maxym Kozytsky, Head of Chernivtsi Regional State Administration Serhii Osachuk, Head of Zakarpattia Regional State Administration Oleksii Petrov, Head of Ivano-Frankivsk Regional State Administration Vitalii Fedoriv, Head of State Environmental Inspectorate Andrii Maliovany and others.
Opening the meeting, Denys Shmyhal stressed that during the flooding in the western regions of Ukraine this year, the scale of the problem of dumping waste into transboundary water basins became apparent.
"In 30 years, neither a concept nor a strategy for solid waste disposal has been developed, nor has it been put into practice. And in the mountainous territories of the western regions, this problem is especially acute… The problem concerns the whole of Ukraine and we must embark on working out steps to resolve this problem at the state level, while the western regions will be our first step. Every effort should be made to ensure that household waste from landfills is not dumped in water basins," the Prime Minister added.
In turn, Roman Abramovsky said that the scale of river pollution is caused by the fact that remote and mountainous regions do not have a system of waste collection and disposal, thus leading to the accumulation of massive landfills, and as a result waste is dumped into waters during floods. The Minister also reminded that the law places the responsibility for unauthorized landfills on local governments.
"At the local level, regional and district state administrations, local governments should conduct raids in order to find out the location of illegal dumping, work on their elimination, develop a plan and constantly carry out explanatory work among the population on waste management issues," said the Minister, emphasizing that it is critical to create the appropriate infrastructure so that citizens have the opportunity to remove waste.
Apart from that, Denys Shmyhal appealed to the heads of regional state administrations in a week’s term to provide proposals that will allow to solve the situation with landfills as quickly as possible. "Let's join efforts and put in place measures allowing us to embark on resolving this situation in the practical plane," he urged the heads of regional state administrations.
Moreover, the Prime Minister stressed that a complex of measures would be approved on the outcomes of the meeting, and the Government would monitor its implementation.
This set of measures to address the problem of solid waste disposal and prevention of pollution of transboundary river basins provides that regional and district state administrations, local governments and relevant executive bodies should provide the following measures: ensure the inspection of water bodies and floodplains and determining polluted areas; ensure the elimination of unauthorized and natural dumps and control over compliance with restrictions for coastal protection zones; to ensure the development of schemes for sanitary cleaning of settlements and to determine those responsible for the provision of services for the removal of household waste; provide funding from local budgets for the collection, removal and recycling of household waste.
Local governments should also ensure that educational activities are carried out among the population on the proper management of household waste.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources and the State Environmental Inspectorate should also consider amending the legislation to increase penalties for littering and pollution of water bodies and protected shoreline belts.