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NGOs react to the CoARM's Report on the management of plastic waste

  • 12.07.2021
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The Court of Accounts of the Republic of Moldova (CoARM) welcomes the active involvement of several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in solving the pressing problems regarding the management of plastic waste in the Republic of Moldova.

Following the CoARM’s Report, heard on June 21, the American Chamber of Commerce in Moldova, the European Business Association and the Association of Importers and Packaging Manufacturers of Moldova drafted a joint statement on state policy in the field of plastic waste management.

NGOs advocate for legal support from the state to ensure efficient management of plastic waste in the Republic of Moldova. In this regard, several proposals have been drafted, such as the conceptual revision of the payment system on environmental pollution, the adoption of the regulatory framework at all levels to create the premises for waste management according to the principles of hierarchy, the revision of legal prohibitions on marketing and use of bags and catering accessories, etc.

We mention that the Court of Accounts carried out the environmental performance audit of plastic waste management in order to present the state of its national management system in the face of the future era of plastic consumption limitation, to identify areas at high risk of degradable influence on the environment and to bring added value to the field by boosting the strengthening of managerial capacities in order to make decisions to improve and change things for the good of the citizen, with minimal impact on the environment.

Decision-makers in all states need to ensure that waste management systems are well supported to deal with current and future plastic waste. The European Union (EU) draws attention on the need to increase the recovery rate of plastic waste, which requires separate collection and quality sorting, as well as increased recovery, while minimizing the disposal of plastic in landfills. The Republic of Moldova is gradually joining this global trend in the fight against plastic pollution.

The current model of waste management in the Republic of Moldova is a simple and primitive one, and does not correspond either to the rigors of environmental protection nor to the principles of the circular economy, which has been the prerogative of the EU for many years. According to the experts, waste collection services exist mainly in urban areas, but even here, the share of waste collected separately, sorted and sent for recycling is negligible.

On the territory of the Republic of Moldova annually there are identified over 1200 unauthorized landfills, which accumulate mixed waste, the effect of which is negative. The lack of a qualitative record of the waste does not allow the audit the quantitative evaluation of the plastic ones among those disposed of in the landfills. However, according to statistical data, it was observed that the recycling rate of waste is very low, because about 90% of the waste generated is disposed of in landfills, and plastic, being bulky waste, occupies about 40% of total waste disposed of.

At the same time, the environmental authorities, as regulatory and market surveillance authorities did not take into account that during 2019-2020 the import of plastic bags continued, which produced a continuous negative effect on the environment. Thus, during the years 2018-2020, the import increased by 500 tons of plastic bags, the cost of entering the country of which amounted from 134 million lei in 2018 to 169 million lei in 2020.

The legislation does not clearly specify which packaging is prohibited from being marketed, which allows for the ambiguous treatment of the existing rules and serves as a basis for the continued illicit marketing of plastic bags.

Although waste pollution appears to have an invisible impact on health and the environment, the lack of crucial actions is a real cause for concern, especially in the absence of an integrated waste management system to ensure good coordination and functioning of both the institutional system and the environment as well as pollution monitoring, information and accountability systems taking into account the situation in the field.

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