A usual morning at a bakery in Skopje… Two-quarters of burek and two cans of yogurt, says customer Tome. He came to buy breakfast for his family, but he forgot to take the cloth bag with him. Even if he had taken it with him, the saleswoman would have been surprised if Tome had offered his bag to put the burek in it, and she would have replied that she would still put the products in plastic bags. The cans of yogurt would be put in a separate plastic bag, so as not to cool the burek down if they are together in one bag.
In the end, Tome leaves the bakery with two plastic bags, two cans of yogurt and a greasy paper. After the breakfast, all of this will be thrown in the garbage bin, eventually ending up in the Drisla landfill.
Nothing sounds surprising in this story, as this is the everyday experience for most of the citizens of North Macedonia. Meta.mk already noted that in comparison to developed Western countries, Macedonia lags decades behind in regard to the waste treatment. The number of active citizens and subjects that are worried about this problem is increasing disproportionately with the increase of waste that has been created with the years, and for the past decade and a half, the state and the municipalities weren’t able to build a single landfill or to make an effort to instigate the people to start reusing the waste and select it in their homes.
At the end of 2020, the Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning finished the new National plan for managing waste for the period between 2020-2030. The document is ambitious, but it is not the first, nor it will be the last and is full of promises for waste management for which no one will be taken accountable if unfulfilled. According to the plan, at the end of the next decade, there would be 6 regional landfills built for the modern treatment of communal waste, with a goal of 25% of all communal waste to be recycled by 2025.
By 2030, the communal waste from households in Macedonia will have to be collected, but also the problem with the cleaning and the closure of all illegal landfills to be solved. Three new facilities for the treatment of bio-waste are supposed to be built, to carry out three campaigns for the population regarding the separate collection and depositing waste, but also to educate the people about the creation of less waste. Additional solutions are offered both for commercial and industrial waste, construction waste, medical waste, hazardous waste, the waste from the cleansing stations for wastewater…As an example, only the financing of the building of one regional landfill and the whole system for waste management in two regions in the country (Eastern and Northeastern) will cost 40 million EUR.
How to lower the quantities of producing waste in Macedonia?
During last year, according to the estimation by the State Statistical Office, 632 484 tons of communal waste were collected, as the citizens broke the record, with 456 kg of communal waste per capita. This means that a four-member family by average has produced 1.8 tons of communal waste annually i.e. each household by average is throwing 5kg of waste every day! This senseless production of waste by the people and the companies is contributing to pilin waste in the container including the landfills, the creation of illegal waste dumps on every step and the result is the pollution of the living environment – the soil, air, and the waters.
For Andrijana Papik Mancheva of the “From zero to zero” initiative, the numbers of produced communal waste in the country are striking. Papik Mancheva says that waste selection is very important, but the key move of every individual would be the re-use of the packaging and other objects that we consider as waste.