The environment is one of the most demanding and most expensive chapters in negotiations with the EU. This is evidenced by the preparations of the new laws regulating this area. Following the recently held public hearings, great public attention was attracted by the key changes to be introduced in the Law on Environmental Protection and the Law on Waste Management, expected to be adopted in September.
The new Law on Environmental Protection
The Green Fund
The new Law on Environmental Protection will enable the forming of a Green Fund again and, equally important, it will clearly define the rules regulating the utilization of resources from this Fund. The Fund will provide funding and implement programs, projects and other activities relating to the conservation, sustainable utilization, protection and improvement of the environment. The significance of this Fund will be in the direction of resources which will be raised according to the "the polluter pays" principle in co-financing of significant infrastructural projects relating to environmental protection, primarily waste and wastewater management projects.
According to the competent Ministry, a preliminary estimate of costs relating to environmental protection amount to 11.5 billion Euros, of which 6.5 is intended for investments, and more than five billion Euros is to be invested in infrastructural projects of management of drinking water, wastewaters and waste management, which will create new jobs and stimulate development of the economy. Optimum co-financing of environmental infrastructural projects from the Green Fund, with the objective of achieving planned standards within a given time frame, acounts for 45 percent.
On the other hand, bearing in mind that removing hazardous waste is in the focus for 2015, but also an important issue to be dealt with in the years to come, one cannot escape being under the impression that the new law should have provided for and designated certain funds for this segment.
One of the key amendments of the new Law on Waste Management is the introduction of the category of a "by-product". This will make possible for a part of the waste that results from production to be used again, in compliance with the terms defined by the law. This principle will directly lead to a reduction in the quanitity of waste. Important here is the issue of control and modes of defining this category.
In view of the lack of sufficient grounds and harmonization with other laws regulating environmental protection, in terms of the definition of this product, one of the proposals on the part of the professional public is to put off the introduction of this category for a couple of years until the forming of relevant institutions in Serbia which will be able to precisely establish what may be classified under the category of product remains or "by-product".
Dealer and intermediary
Another novelty introduced by the Law on Waste Management is the definition of the dealer – intermediary relation. Introduction of this category presents an attempt at making a shift from the grey zone of metal trade and secondary raw materials to legal sale which is in compliance with the law, in view of the fact that it will be necessary to submit a photocopy of the personal identification card and proof of origin of the waste on sale of the same.
Owing to this, it will be able to prevent thefts of cables, metal, manholes and other secondary raw materials as it will easier to establish the origin of the seller bringing waste to the dealer, as well as origin of the waste. On the other hand, the question of control is also an issue relating to this provision. Waste management is based on the principles of responsibility and obligations which are defined for waste yard owners. The introduction of a dealer and intermediary, who are not waste yard owners, opens up the possibility for misuse in waste management, which, in turn, undermines the established principle of responsibility of the waste manufacturers, collectors, transporters and operators.