Macedonia, together with Serbia and Kosovo, are at the bottom of Europe according to the percentage of the population that has access at least to a secondary treatment of urban waste waters, shows the Eurostat and Macedonian State Statistical Office’s data. In 2018, only 21,7% of the urban wastewaters in North Macedonia were subjected to treatment before being discharged into the rivers, lakes, and underground waters.
The data shows that the populations in Serbia (12,9%) and Kosovo (0,6%) have smaller access to wastewater treatment. Out of the countries in the region, in Albania, 33,6% of its citizens have wastewater treatment plants in their populated areas while 36,9% of the people in Croatia in 2018 have had at least a secondary wastewater treatment.
Among the neighboring Balkan countries, during the period between 2000 and 2018, Bulgaria has doubled the percentage of the population that has access to infrastructural plants where wastewaters are being treated, from 36,1% to 63,7%. A noticeable success was achieved by Latvia, which in 2000 had only 56,2%, and in 2018 it ranked second among the EU member countries with 98,7% of the population that has access to secondary treatment of urban wastewaters.
Together with this Baltic country, other EU member countries such as Denmark, Germany, Greece, Luxemburg, Austria, and Sweden have almost all of the quantities of wastewaters that are created by households and companies processed before they are discharged both into the surface and underground waters i.e. in the surrounding living environment.
The extremely quick building tempo of the infrastructure for urban wastewater treatment in the EU member countries should come as no surprise since the European Commission in 1991 adopted the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive where in the Article 5 from the same Directive a timeframe was set for the necessity of building wastewater treatment stations for large populated urban areas within the EU member countries. With this directive, the EU member countries were ordered until the year 2000 to build wastewater treatment plants in populated areas with more than 15,000 people.
Even Macedonia as an EU member candidate, in the forthcoming period, will have to speed up the building of the wastewater treatment plans which are lacking in its biggest cities such as Skopje, Tetovo, and Bitola. For more than a year, Meta.mk has been writing extensively about the need of building such capital facilities that will help solve the problem with the pollution of waters in populated areas. The government promised that by the end of 2021 the building of wastewater treatment plants in Tetovo and Bitola will begin, while the building of the plant at the Macedonian capital is planned to start during the first half of 2022.