: Ukraine's waste management industry experiencing chaotic times

16:26 Jun. 6, 2016

Ukraine's waste management industry experiencing chaotic times

Landslide at a Lviv region junkyard  (UNIAN Photo)

Escalating number of landfills endangers both environment and economy - ecologists

Three firemen killed in the landslide at a Lviv region junkyard were laid to rest this weekend. The body of the fourth victim, an ecologist is yet to be found. The rescue operation had to be terminated due to the severely dangerous conditions at the Hrybovychi waste site.

The tragic incident certainly brought attention back to the systemic issues within Ukraine's recycling industry. According to ecologists, garbage sorting and recycling is nothing more than a myth to Ukrainians. Nearly all discarded stuff end up at landfills just like the one in Hrybovychi regardless whether it is glass, wood, or paper.

Ukraine does have one garbage recycling plant. Located in Kyiv, the facility that was built in 1986 continues to operate today, continuously converting waste to alternative energy sources. 

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Garbage bins in Lviv (UNIAN Photo)

Serhiy Krykun, Head of the Plant "Energiya": "We recycle nearly 700 tons of garbage a day. This is enough to provide 300 blocks of flats with hot water, so why not?"

Read also Spine-chilling: Human limbs found on dumpster in northern Ukraine

By contrast, 700 tons add up to just a quarter of the daily amount of trash tossed away in Kyiv leaving landfills to struggle with the intake of more than 2,000 tons of waste.

Svitlana Kolomiyets/Ex-Deputy Minister of Ecology: "Since we are not used neither to recycling nor to sorting out the garbage, it is mostly thrown out to the disposal dumps. European states recycle up to 80% of wastes, whereas we use no more than 6%." 

Presently, there are 6,000 official waste yards listed in Ukraine. Though, ecologists say that number actually is closer to about 10,000 . And that is what causes them to sound the alarm, because the current amount of waste covering Ukrainian land weight nearly 40 billion tons.

Oleksandr Sokolenko, Ecologist: "Nowadays more than 5% of Ukraine's territories are covered with garbage. Imagine a country sized as Montenegro totally heaped up with waste".

Ecologists claim the numbers simply do not add up. The sheer fact that the sums paid to collect the trash to do not correspond to the volume of garbage taken out. The scientists insist the funds go straight into the pockets of those running the trash logistics business since elaborate corruption schemes run deep in the waste disposal industry.

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Rescue works at the garbage landslide in Lviv region (UNIAN Photo)

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