Saturday, 18 July 2009

Bulgaria's Rubbish Problem Remains

EU standards come into play again as Bulgaria has to clean up its act in landfill regulations that conform to EU health standards. A big, big job when you consider the decades of unregulated rubbish that has mounted up. It never used to be that bad but because of the influence of a western throwaway society that has crept in since 1990 and the incredible rise in wasteful no biodegradable packaging, plastic bags from mainly supermarkets and retailers, this has led to massive problems in waste disposal. Even with Bulgarians probably Europe’s leader in reusing material that would normally be thrown away, it is an increasing problem on our doorstep. There are tens of thousands of landfill site in Bulgaria every town city and village has at least one and from what I see they are all unregulated!

Bulgaria's Rubbish Problem Remains

Bulgaria was one of the three European Union member states given an extension on the deadline to close 14 sub-standard landfill sites, the European Commission said in a media statement on July 17.

The EU-wide deadline for closing landfills that did not meet the bloc's Landfill Directive was July 16. The new deadline is December 31 2014, but Bulgaria will also have to meet annual decreasing targets for the amount of waste disposed of in some non-compliant sites.

"Mismanaged and uncontrolled landfills are a hazard to human health and the environment. As of today these should be a thing of the past. Member states have had eight years to ensure their landfills meet EU standards. It is their duty to guarantee the highest levels of protection to citizens and the environment," European environment commissioner Stavros Dimas said in the statement.

The most recent statistics gathered in 2008 concern the 12 new member states, revealing the existence of some 1600 sub-standard landfills, the Commission said.

A clearer picture of the situation in the bloc's 27 member states is expected towards the end of the year, once complete data is received. The Commission said it was monitoring compliance across the EU and should national sites continue to operate without meeting European standards, the Commission would consider legal action against the member states involved.

The Commission has already brought legal action against Spain, France, Italy, Ireland and Greece on this issue, with the European Court of Justice finding that the countries had failed to fulfill their waste disposal obligations.

Member states were also asked to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste that is landfilled by half compared to 1995 levels, diverting it to more environmentally friendly forms of waste management such as composting, or incineration with energy recovery.

In 2016, the Commission plans to increase the reduction target to 65% of 1995 levels.

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