For two years, the Parliament of Ukraine has been trying to introduce “green” tariff in Ukraine. We speak about legislative changes to classify domestic waste as an alternative source of energy and granting a state subsidy to enterprises that generate electricity power through waste incineration. Currently the agenda of the Parliament of Ukraine includes the draft Law on amending some laws of Ukraine to stimulate the use of domestic waste as alternative energy1.
This topic, in particular analysis of environmental and economic expediency of implementation of these legislative changes was the focus of the round table discussion ““Moving towards European style waste management. Does Ukraine need “green tariffs” for waste incineration?”2, held on 4 December 2017 in the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center. The discussion was organized by the Reanimation Package of Reforms and International charitable organization “Environment–People–Law”.
The Ministry of Environment of Ukraine was invited to the round-table discussion3. However, representatives of this body ignored the event. This is quite a strange situation because the Ministry of Environment is supposed to play the leading role, to stimulate the deputies to adopt environmentally friendly laws. In this case, the Ministry of Environment, unfortunately, shifted off its responsibility.
Also, the deputies who are the authors of the draft law were invited to the round-table discussion. However, only one deputy, the chief author of the draft law Oleksandr Dombrovskyi participated in the round table. He stressed that Ukraine’s environment is polluted and it is important to adopt right decisions to solve the waste problem. Oleksandr Dombrovskyi stated that we have to incinerate waste using the experience of Spittelau waste incineration plant, to actively implement the experience of China that develops alternative and renewable energy. However, the degree of environmental pollution in China is well known: total smogs allowing no more than 50-100 meters visibility etc. All this is the consequence of emissions caused by coal burning, waste incineration, transport! As regards the legislative initiative, the people’s deputy stated that the issue is not about “green” tariff, it’s about technologies.
It is worth mentioning that recently in Ukraine there have been a wave of proposals from enterprises that have no experience in waste management to use hand-made facilities for waste incineration. Moreover, for some reason (!) they get support from public officials.
Below there are several links to media coverage of such cases: https://zaxid.net/silskiy_vinahidnik_pokazav_golovi_loda_prototip_smittyespalyuvalnogo_zavodu_n1430512
Let’s look at other examples of “solving” the waste problem in Ukraine through incineration. In Tiachiv Zakarpattia region the Investment and Environmental Company is planning to build a waste incineration plant https://goloskarpat.info/society/5a0329bce738c/?utm_content=03134. The main field of activities of the company is leasing of estates http://dyvys.info/2017/05/19/hto–yak–koly–i–za–skilky–planuye–zbuduvaty–na–lvivshhyni–smittyepererobnyj–zavod/. Earlier the same company planned to construct a waste incineration plant in Lviv region and stated that it has no capital funds for construction and is waiting for adoption of “green tariff” by the Parliament of Ukraine. It turned out that the company has no experience in constructing waste incineration plants. In Zakarpattia the company claimed to introduce 5-stage emissions purification while in Lviv it planned 1-stage purification. Also, “Eco Bike” company plans to apply pyrolysis to incinerate waste in Cherkassy http://nashigroshi.org/2017/11/30/smittjevyj-biznes-v-cherkasah-viddaly-avtorytetnomu-dzyudojistu-z-kozyrnoji-karty-i-partneram-hubernatora/.
In various regions of Ukraine pyrolysis facilities are proposed to be used for solid domestic waste incineration. However, in European practice pyrolysis is used for oil products waste or, for example, for medical waste. In our opinion, by adopting this draft law the Parliament of Ukraine will give “the green” light to dishonest business that do not think about safe and healthy environment but try to get financial benefits in any possible way. No doubt that if the Ukrainian market were entered by a European company with the capital of not 2 mln UAH but let’s say a hundred mln Euro and with relevant experience in constructing waste incineration plants, with ready technologies for gas emissions purification, online system of monitoring emissions, the public would gladly support such an investment.
On the one hand, it is vitally important for Ukraine to solve the waste problem. But on the other hand, solutions should be beneficial for the environment and human health, be consistent and understandable instead of stimulating handicraft self-made installations for waste incineration that are massively proposed in many regions of Ukraine. The decisions should take into account European approaches to waste management and ensure control on behalf of the state over these activities since Ukraine chose the way of European integration and Europe focuses on circular economy.
In April 2017, International charitable organization “Environment-People-Law” submitted its comments and proposals regarding the draft law on “green” tariff for energy production through waste incineration to the relevant Parliamentary committees and Parliamentary party groups.4. The Parliament took our proposals into account and provided its reply. Finally, the Parliament did not support the idea of granting the “green” tariff.5.
At the round table discussion, Environment Sector Manager of the European Union Delegation to Ukraine Jean-François Moret stated that now that the National Waste Strategy on waste is adopted, it is very timely to think about the best ways to implement it in Ukraine. Changes ahead are systemic, and one should take time to analyse pros and cons of all options on the table. The EU approach to waste is based on the waste pyramid, where incineration is the least-preferred option before landfilling. Applying green tariffs to incineration might promote incineration vs. other forms of retreatment higher in the waste pyramid (prevention, reuse, recycling) that should be supported in priority, so that only a small portion of waste ends up in incinerators. The EU is therefore opposed on the principle to green tariffs for waste incineration.
It is also important to state that in November this year the European Environmental Bureau that is the association of 140 experts from 30 European countries and “Zero Waste Europe” addressed the Chair of the Parliament of Ukraine Andriy Parubiy, the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine Ostap Semerak with the statement that introduction of “green tariff” for energy produced through waste incineration is ungrounded, will work against Ukraine’s obligations under Annex XXX to the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and pose a threat to the environment and health.
The European Commission supports reuse and recycling of domestic waste, use of installations for energy recovery from anaerobic digestion of biodegradable waste7.
The National Waste Management Strategy recently approved by the government is undoubtedly a positive factor for further changes in this field. But we should remember that so far National and regional plans of waste management have not been approved, the framework law on waste has not been adopted, regions have not chosen models of waste management and in general there is no state control over emissions of toxic substances, in particular dioxins, furans and benzopyrenes. Therefore, “the green” light cannot be given to enterprises that have no experience, no own capital, no systems of gas emissions purification.
In view of the facts, positions and stipulations presented above, taking into consideration Ukraine’s European way of development, we call on the people’s deputies to decline the “dirty for the environment” draft law for the sake of health of our nation. Our advice to those deputies who are very much concerned about “dirty” country is to stimulate zero-waste technologies, invest into technologies of waste separation, reuse, recycling, anaerobic digestion of domestic waste and energy co-generation.
3 Запрошення на круглий стіл для Мінприроди
4 Лист ЕПЛ до ВРУ
5 Відповідь ВРУ ЕПЛ
6 Звернення ЄЕБ та «Нуль відходів Європа»