EU is waiting, municipalities in North Macedonia have been deliberating for 7 months who will manage the regional landfill in Sveti Nikole

Фото: Бојан Блажевски

The construction of the first landfill in North Macedonia where the waste will be deposited and recycled in accordance with the European standards is long overdue. Even though the municipality of Sveti Nikole in February agreed to the establishment of the Public inter regional enterprise for waste management “EKO ISTOK- SEVEROISTOK,” (Eco East-Northeast), the 18 municipalities in the Eastern and Northeastern planning regions for seven month haven’t been able to reach an agreement on who will be the manager – the municipality where the regional landfill will be located (Sveti Nikole) or the municipality that is creating most of the waste (Kumanovo).

The Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning confirmed for that the municipalities didn’t succeed to summon their councils and nominate candidates, so that has to be done after the local elections are over, and the process of establishing this inter regional enterprise to be fulfilled.

“We hope this will not influence the process much, although, there are remarks by the EU about the slowness iof the implementation by the municipalities,” the ministry acknowledges.

The creation of a regional waste management system in these two regions is financed by an EU grant of €40 million. The complete documentation has already been prepared, the equipment has been purchased as well as vehicles for waste selection and transportation, but of key importance is the issue with the construction of a regional landfill near the village of Mechkuevci in the municipality of Sveti Nikole.

Apart from the landfill that will be meeting EU’s high standards,separate plants for waste treatment, i.e mechanical pretreatment with waste shredding, processing of metals and screening, composting the wet fraction, refining and maturation will be built at the site near Mechkuevci. There will be a special plant for sorting paper, plastic, glass and metal waste, where the recycling of the material occurs. At this location, there would be a small plant for composting agricultural waste.

This practically means that for the first time North Macedonia would have a modern waste treatment plant where a certain percentage of the accumulated waste will actually be deposited on this location and the remaining selected waste will undergo the treatment process.

The Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning had no decisive answer to’s question of what will happen if the mayors of different political parties win at the forthcoming local elections in both regions, which would eventually obstruct the construction of a regional landfill.

The Northeastern and Eastern regions are not the only ones in the country where there is bickering and disputes among the municipalities regarding the establishment of a regional system for waste management. The Polog region has been facing an almost identical problem, with an identical blockade of the creation of an inter-regional enterprise for waste management. Just as the EU is seriously interested in investing in the eastern and Northeastern parts, Switzerland wants to invest in the regional waste management system in Polog.

The construction of regional landfills in the last few years was faced with numerous obstacles in other regions in North Macedonia, as well – in the municipality of Debarca in the Southeastern region, as well as the municipality of Rosoman in the Vardar region. The interested investors that wanted to solve the municipalities’ problem with waste management have often canceled their projects because of the bickering between the municipalities.