Industrial waste management and treatment of hazardous waste in the Republic of Serbia
The third Public Hearing of the Environmental Protection Committee was held at the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on December 1st, 2014. The subject of the hearing was "Industrial Waste Management and Hazardous Waste Treatment in the Republic of Serbia". Taking part in the public hearing was the Association of the Waste Industry of Serbia „Hrabri čistač", represented by Mr. Miodrag Mitrović, Chairman of this association and President of the company Miteco-Kneževac, who addressed the attendees.
Opening the meeting, Banislav Blažić Ph.D., Chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee, pointed out at the very beginning that he was very pleased with the large turnout on the part of the media and professional community, thus showing their support to the cause. In his introductory speech, he said that the goal of past and future public hearings of this Committee is to issue a White Paper on Environmental Protection which will indicate not only the heart of the problem in this area, but also propose a program and plan for solving the same. "Raising awareness in all segments of society and in all age groups is necessary in order for us, as individuals, to start thinking about environmental protection", stressed Blažić.
"Serbia made significant improvement as far back as 2009 in relation to the collection, storing and export of hazardous and industrial waste. Hazardous waste is present in Serbia and it is important that its recycling is done in compliance with European regulations.", said Radmila Šerović, Head of the Waste Management Department with the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection. She pointed out that the strategic goal of each state is recycling and waste management, as well as implementation of European regulations, which was recently concluded in Brussels during the bilateral negotiations on Chapter 27. According to her, environmental legislation compliance with the European Union has improved for the most part.
Šerović also said that it is important to take into account recovery of hazardous and industrial waste in companies that are in the restructuring process, as well as to prepare a strategic plan for 2015 whereby budget funds would be provisioned for the solving of this problem. She added that companies are not in a position to solve this burning problem, which is why the state has to play an important role here. Šerović pointed out that establishing a new Environmental Protection Fund would greatly speed up things, particularly in the financing aspect as we could submit projects in these areas and apply for financing from various funds.
Concentration of generated waste will increase five times
Filip Radović, Director of the Serbian Environmental Protection Agency, said that waste management is a very significant area and that the European Agency estimated that in the next ten years the concentration of generated waste will increase five times the present level. He said that in Brussels Serbia undertook an obligation to adopt a Waste Directive which will prohibit waste dumping after 2020. It will also regulate how much may be burnt, turned to composite and how much recycled.
The Provincial Secretary for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development of AP Vojvodina, Slobodan Puzović, said that Vojvodina also has serious problems in waste treatment and waste disposal. According to him, 2 million tons of waste is generated in this province, out of which 30% is industrial waste. The problem is that its storing is not nearly what it should be according to legal regulations. He concluded that sanctions should be imposed on entities which generate hazardous waste but fail to report it.
Serbia is losing money due to damage resulting from not treating waste
Prof. Dr. Aleksandar Jovović from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Belgrade, in his report named several key problems which must be dealt with in a timely manner: solving the problem of PCBs, bottom ash and fly ash, waste oils and SRF. "Each year, Serbia loses a lot of money due to damage resulting from not treating waste. Therefore, we must work together to improve regulations, but also to support authorized bodies in the implementation of the same", stressed Jovović.
Jovanka Arsić Karišić, Chairman of the Board of CEDEF, pointed out that the main reason for organizing seven professional debates in the course of this year was inadequate handling of waste. "In order to efficiently solve problems, besides the professionals, we need to inform the general public and include the media in all of this, because constructive debates are necessary", emphasized Arsić Karišić.
Siniša Mitrović addressed the guests in front of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and pointed out the urgent need for a "big cleaning" of the agenda of all those who are actively involved in improving the environment in Serbia. "It is important for us to be concentrated and oriented towards joining the EU, however, we need new guidelines: on green economy and green business policy", stressed Mitrović.
"Hrabri čistač" presented the work and goals of its association.
On behalf of the Association of the Waste Industry "Hrabri čistač" its Chairman, Miodrag Mitrović, addressed the gathering and in brief presented the work and goals of this association
He gave his viewpoint of the priorities of the Republic of Serbia with respect to environmental protection and pointed out three burning questions: historical waste and historical pollution, medical waste which is not adequately disposed and the question of by-products (which we don't use, while this is a resource in the European Union).
"Besides these questions, we must attend to administrative licenses: it should be ensured that the process of obtaining them is simplified, without making the terms under which they are approved any easier in order to avoid potential problems", stressed Mitrović.
In closing the meeting after the discussion, Branislav Blažić, Ph.D., Chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee, invited everyone present to attend the next public hearing which was expected to be organized in the course of the next ten days.