Lviv, May 28, 2019
Annually Ukraine dumps about 26 mln fluorescent lamps that contain about 130 kg of mercury. Waste electronic and electric equipment contributes to another 40 kg of mercury that gets into the environment as stated in the analytical report “Assessment of amounts of mercury-containing waste and recommendations for implementation of the Minamata Convention in Ukraine”. Development of the report was funded by the European Union under the project “Ukrainian civil society for European-style waste management”.
Ukraine does not have any restrictions for the use of mercury-containing products, there is no classification of mercury-containing waste and methods of its recycling, no centralized collection of mercury-containing waste from people: waste fluorescent lamps, batteries, damaged mercury thermometers etc. As a result, much of the waste gets to waste bins and then to landfills.
According to the EU project experts, it is vitally important for Ukraine to adopt developed drafts of the law on waste management that envisages separate collection of mercury-containing waste; the law on waste electronic and electric equipment developed under the EU Twinning project “Introduction of a management system of waste electrical and electronic equipment in Ukraine”; the law on batteries and accumulators and other legal acts. A key step towards the solution of the problem with mercury-containing waste will be Ukraine’s accession to the Minamata Convention aimed to gradually phase out mercury use. In order to enact Minamata Convention in Ukraine, Ukraine has to do the following:
To develop measures for mercury-containing waste management and to integrate them to the National Plan of Waste Management until 2030 approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in February 2019.
To include groups of mercury-containing waste to the draft National List of Waste.
To perform a comprehensive inventory of sources of mercury-containing waste.
To develop and adopt the national strategy of mercury-containing waste management.
To ensure effective separate collection of used fluorescent lamps.
To make producers, suppliers and distributors of fluorescent lamps label the packaging with notes about the content of mercury and the rules of handling used fluorescent lamps.
To plan a series of measures to create conditions and requirements for functioning of recycling enterprises to recycle used fluorescent lamps and other mercury-containing waste.
To harmonize the national legislation in the area of mercury-containing waste management with the EU requirements.
To create the system of accounting and control over transportation of products and waste containing mercury within the country and transboundary transportation of such waste.
The European Union helps Ukraine to implement the European approach to mercury-containing waste management by developing legislative changes and implementation of relevant technologies. In 2015 in Lviv, the EU funded the launch of Ukraine’s first facility for fluorescent lamps recycling using the newest Swedish technology.
In Europe it is prohibited to throw fluorescent lamps into regular waste bins, extended producer responsibility applies and fluorescent lamps are gradually substituted by LED lamps. In general, the European approach envisages gradual decrease of production of mercury-containing goods and where possible a total phase-out of such production, separate collection, extraction of mercury, withdrawal of mercury from the environment and shutting down of mercury mining.
Background information: the Minamata Convention on mercury was adopted in 2013. It was named after the Japanese city of Minamata where in 1956 more than 2 000 people got poisoned with mercury.
The EU-funded project “Ukrainian civil society for European-style waste management” is implemented by the International Charitable Organization “Environment-People-Law” (EPL) in partnership with the non-governmental organization Environmental Initiatives (EI). It aims to increase effectiveness of the waste management system in Ukraine and to decrease negative impact of waste on the environment. Duration: July 2016 – July 2019.
For more information, please contact Olha Melen-Zabramna by email: email@example.com, or by phone: +38 032 2257682.