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Jul 21, 2011

MINISTER KARADZHOVA DISCUSSES WASTE LANDFILL CONSTRUCTION WITH YAMBOL MUNICIPAL COUNCILLORS

The Minister of Environment and Water Nona Karadzhova met with municipal councilors from the Municipality of Yambol, opposing the construction of a waste landfill. This is the third subsequent meeting held by Minister Karadzhova to achieve a consensus on the implementation of the project financed under Operational Programme Environment.

Minister Karadzhova reminded the councillors that this would be the last opportunity for the municipalities of Yambol, Nova Zagora, Tundzha, Sliven and Straldzha to take advantage of the BGN 33 million funds, envisaged under the programme, since the European Union will not grant any further funds in the waste sector after 2013. “The local authority alone is to make the decision, the government will not impose any kind of decisions; it does not have the right to do so’, the Minister added.

Provided that no consensus is reached, the EU funds allocated for the region of Yambol will flow into other regions, while the five municipalities will have to transport their waste to other licenced landfills in the future. This will significantly increase the waste fee for the population, particularly after 2013, when there will be a rise in this fee, Minister Karadzhova said.

The majority of municipal councillors in Yambol prefer the have a waste treatment plant constructed rather than a landfill, especially given the fact that there is an existing investment interest in the plant construction. Minister Karadzhova advised the local authorities to construct the landfill with EU funds and at the same time launch the construction of the plant. “My experience shows that the preparation, construction and launching into operation of even a simpler waste plant takes between 7 and 8 years, even up to 10 years. The projects do not stand in each other’s way, but rather complement each other”, she said.

In line with EU directives Bulgaria is required to achieve at least 50% level of waste recycling and reduce the landfilling of biodegradable waste by 2020. As for the remaining 50%, their ecological treatment will be left to discretion of the municipalities.

At the end of the meeting Minister Karadzhova and the mayor of Yambol Georgi Slavov voiced their willingness to organise a visit to a modern landfill, constructed with EU funds and to a recultivated old landfill. In this way protesting citizens can assure themselves that their concerns about the construction of the landfill in the vicinity of the town are unfounded, since all landfill facilities will be complied with the national and European ecological standards.

The regional waste landfill in Yambol is one of a total of 23 landfills which are constructed with funding from the Operational Programme Environment. It will serve the municipalities of Yambol, Nova Zagora, Tundzha, Sliven and Straldzha with a total population of nearly 300,000 people. Initial feasibility studies envisage the construction of a landfill, mechanical-biological treatment facility and composting facility.

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