Waste - Drivers and pressures (Albania)
The increase in population and considerable migration of the population towards the developed cities in Albania have resulted in increased consumer behaviour and, therefore, increased volumes of municipal waste. The huge transformation of the economy of the country has been accompanied by changes and an increase in the consumption of consumer goods by the population: this is shown directly by the increase in the level of packaging waste of different products. In 2005, the amount of municipal waste per inhabitant was at a lower level compared to 2009, when, as is seen in Figure 3, the amount clearly increased.
Figure 3: Municipal waste generated 2005–09
Source: Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Telecommunication
Daily production of municipal waste per inhabitant is approximately:
- urban areas (50 % total population): 0.8 kg/day
- rural areas (50 % of total population): 0.35 kg/day
Weak waste management leading to dumping of waste without any separation and treatment in landfill sites causes pollution emissions to air and water.
Polluted waters created at landfill sites present a high risk of pollution to surface waters and groundwater and biodegradable waste through its decomposition releases methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) gases to the atmosphere. Municipal waste in Albania contains a high percentage of organic waste and no recycling methods exist to reduce the amount of organic waste disposed of in landfills. The organic waste in landfills is the main source of CH4 emissions. Methane emissions during the period 1990–2000 are presented in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Methane emissions 1990–2000
Source: Climate Change Program, UNDP
The most effective abatement measure would be the introduction of landfill gas recovery plants that would recover 70 % of the methane; however, this measure is still not implemented.
Promoting sustainable waste management practices can also reduce GHG emissions. The main goals of integrated waste management are to:
- reduce solid waste,
- pursue recycling and reuse of material,
- regulate the disposal of solid waste.
Recycling and composting should be the top priority measures to reduce GHG emissions in Albania.