As much as 85% of municipal waste ends up in landfills – more than 3,000 of them in Serbia. However, in order to avoid creation of new landfills, the first priority of NALED's Environment Protection Alliance will be to fully develop the primary selection system, i.e. the culture of waste separation in homes. This will be achieved through better cooperation with local governments and the installation of more recycling containers, in order to offer citizens a choice for a healthier environment, announced Bojana Perić, the new president of the Alliance and director of Ekostar Pak, at today's session of this working body.
Mass recycling, through expansion of the collection network and construction of infrastructure, the introduction of a deposit system for packaging waste and the adoption of the Circular Economy Development Program, as a basis for solving environmental problems, are the main priorities that the Alliance will advocate before the Government, in order to implement the green agenda.
The alliance will also propose improving the policy of collection of eco-taxes and fees in order to reduce air pollution, because the current amounts do not encourage large polluters to reduce harmful gas emissions and are not proportional to the amount of pollution. Also, NALED members will focus on cleaner rivers, and they see the solution in stricter supervision of companies that discharge waste water directly into rivers and lakes, without prior treatment.
In order for Serbia to catch up with developed European countries and meet the requirements of the EU, it is necessary to invest more than 10 billion euros in environmental protection, of which around 3 billion in waste recycling infrastructure alone.
On that occasion, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Sandra Dokić, announced that at the end of this year or the beginning of 2023, amendments to the Law on Waste Management will be adopted and the construction of new regional centers will begin. "The introduction of the deposit system will also find a place on our agenda, but we must approach this topic very seriously in order not to damage the system that we have started to build and which has a perspective," said Dokić.
This week, the Environment Protection Agency published the Waste Management Report 2021, indicating that the amount of properly collected waste increased from 14% to 42% since 2016. However, according to their analysis of 1,170 cleared illegal landfills, during follow-up, 987 locations returned to waste disposal. The assistant director of the agency, Tamara Perunović Ćulić, said that this is why SEPA supports NALED's priorities in this area and emphasizes that the main challenges of waste management in Serbia are still related to ensuring good coverage and capacity to provide services, such as collection, transport and sanitary waste disposal.
An equally important area in the implementation of the green agenda is public procurement, where NALED will work on the introduction of environmental criteria, with the aim of at least 50% of procurement being green. With the support of the Swedish Agency for International Development and Cooperation, guides and criteria for the procurement of public lighting, road construction, buildings, office supplies and electric vehicles in public transport have been developed, and NALED is of the opinion that, following the example of Slovenia, these criteria should eventually become mandatory in Serbia as well.
New Presidency of the Environment Protection Alliance
The Alliance members elected a new leadership of this body. For the next two years, it will be led by Bojana Perić, Director of Ekostar Pak. Nebojša Grbušić, Director of Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies, Tisa Čaušević, Public and Regulatory Affairs Manager at Coca-Cola HBC and Dragan Rajković, Sustainable Development Director at Tetra Pak, will be vice presidents in the new convocation.