Cheaper to pay fines than dump garbage in landfills – Alikhan Smailov on formation of unauthorized dumpsites

Measures to eliminate illegal dumps were discussed at the Government session chaired by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Alikhan Smailov.

Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Yerlan Nysanbayev reported that at the end of last year, 77% of spontaneous dumps identified through space monitoring were eliminated. Most of them were in Akmola region 830 (88% liquidated) and Karaganda region 745 (99% liquidated). Weak work on elimination was noted in Abay region (10%), Ulytau region (15%) and Astana (52%).

Since May of this year, 5,578 landfills have been identified, with elimination amounting to only 50%. Low rates were recorded in Abay region and Mangystau region 16% each, in Ulytau region 20% and in Astana 30%.

To prevent the formation of spontaneous dumps, licensing and notification procedure for business entities on waste management were introduced at the legislative level, the obligation to separate waste collection by fractions was introduced, fines for violation of waste management requirements were increased. Along with this, interdepartmental mobile groups conduct raids to detect illegal transportation of waste. In 2023, about 63 thousand administrative offenses were noted.

To date, an information system for monitoring the movement of waste transportation equipment with the help of GPS-sensors is being tested. Next year it is planned to put it into commercial operation. Thus, a pilot project has already been implemented in Shymkent, thanks to which it is possible to monitor in real time the movement of 42 garbage trucks from waste collection sites to disposal sites.

At the same time, the Ministry of Ecology is working on increasing the coverage of settlements by space monitoring, strengthening control over the movement of construction waste and the introduction of national standards for their reuse.

Prime Minister pointed out that Mangystau region has the lowest rate of elimination of unauthorized dumps. Abay region is also one of the leaders of the anti-rating on this indicator. Akims of the regions Nurlan Nogaev and Nurlan Urankhaev made comments on the work carried out.

Akim of the capital Zhenis Kassymbek also made a report at the meeting.

As the head of the Government noted, the accumulation of waste and the emergence of illegal dumps has become one of the most acute environmental problems. To improve the situation, many advanced countries of the world carry out recycling and utilization of garbage.

"The appropriate infrastructure has been created and a culture of waste management has been formed. This has allowed Europe to achieve 50% recycling of garbage. The leader is Sweden, where 99% is utilized. However, we still use a long outdated method of garbage disposal - its storage and burial. Every year in Kazakhstan more than 4.5 million tons of solid domestic waste is generated," Alikhan Smailov said.

Thousands of unauthorized dumps aggravate the situation, he said. In general, akimats allocate significant budget funds for their elimination. Raids are conducted. Fines for violation of the requirements of the legislation have been increased.

However, Prime Minister emphasized that in the sphere of waste management measures are not taken sufficiently. He added that plans to launch modern waste processing plants have not yet been realized and pointed to the difficult situation with landfills in villages.

"This year only from March to September, 5.5 thousand unauthorized waste sites have been discovered. Administrative fines do not improve the situation. It is cheaper to pay a fine than to take the garbage to the landfill. We need to change this approach. It is necessary to build a clear system of waste handling and utilization," Alikhan Smailov emphasized.

He noted that citizens should be better informed about the availability of landfills for construction waste, as well as actively introduce separate collection of waste, its further sorting, processing and utilization.

"According to experts, one of the main problems in Kazakhstan with the organization of landfills for waste are tariffs, requirements and norms. They need to be made more flexible, especially for historically established waste disposal sites in small settlements. Otherwise it is impossible to legalize and maintain these landfills," Prime Minister said.

Head of the Government demanded to approve municipal waste management programs in the regions by November 1 and to reduce the number of unauthorized dumps by half by the end of the year.

Along with this, he noted the need to introduce legislative amendments to toughen administrative responsibility for throwing garbage in inappropriate places.

"It is necessary to significantly increase administrative fines with a subsequent increase in their rate in case of systematic violations," Alikhan Smailov pointed out.

The Ministry of Ecology has been instructed to study international experience in the introduction of separate waste collection, utilization and recycling and to develop appropriate amendments to legislation.

"The current system of waste management and tariff formation does not stand up to criticism. The industry is unprofitable, unable to introduce new technologies. It is necessary to develop new approaches by the end of the year," Prime Minister said.

He also instructed to prepare proposals for the construction of new plants for utilization and recycling of waste taking into account the best European practices.

"In some countries of the world, such as Sweden, France and Japan, such technologies of waste recycling at plants are used, thanks to which there are no huge areas, no smoke and odor," Alikhan Smailov noted.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister outlined the need to develop and introduce the issues of culture of garbage handling into educational programs from kindergarten to university.

"Separate waste collection and recycling should become an important part of our behavior. We will hear the results of the fulfillment of these instructions at the end of the year at the Government session," he concluded.

#Alikhan Smailov #The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan #Ecology #Government session

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