Waste (Serbia )
The state and impacts
Poor waste management system has been identified as one of the most important environmental problems in Serbia.
Wastes and waste management have been recognised as a major public issue. However, people generally tend to consider wastes as somebody else’s problem, so solutions are expected from the government, its agencies, local authorities, industry, etc. The need for cooperation in solving the problems of waste disposal is only recognised in moments of crisis and public concern.
It is important to remember that waste, per se, represents the loss of materials and energy, and that its collection, processing and landfilling need large amounts of additional energy and labour.
To create a national database on landfills, the Environmental Protection Agency set up two projects in 2006 for:
- the establishment of a register of waste disposal sites;
- the establishment of a register of unofficial and old landfills and dumps.
Serbia has 164 landfills that are used by local utility companies for the disposal of wastes (Figure 1). Twelve of these are situated within 100 m of a settlement – highlighting the risks to the local population from contaminating emissions and possible diseases carried by vermin around landfills.
Waste covering is practised at 117 landfills and is done mostly with earth or some other inert material. Daily covering is practised at 15 landfills, monthly covering at one, and covering is only done occasionally at 101 landfills.
Types of waste discharged into landfills are given in Table 1.
|Total amount of generated communal waste (million t)||1.73||2.07||2.55|
|Total amount of collected and land filled waste (million t)||1.04||1.24||1.52|
|Average percentage of generated waste landfilled (%)||~60||~60||~60|
In the period 2006-2008, the amount of municipal waste generated increased by 30 %. This huge growth is not in accordance with household consumption in Serbia during the same period and can only be explained by better quality of delivered data.
Illegal dumping sites
In the same year, data on generation of hazardous industrial waste identified more than 150 facilities producing around 1.90 million t, but the total may be slightly larger because of data without a waste catalogue number.
The Environmental Protection Agency has no data on packaging and packaging waste, only very rough estimates derived from communal waste composition in 2008. The necessary by-law for reporting was adopted, and the first accurate data will be delivered, in 2010.
The key drivers and pressures
Waste - Indicators and Pressures
|1. Food and beverages
2. Spirits and tobacco
3. Clothes and footwear
4. Living, water, electricity, gas and other fuels consumption
5. Furniture, household equipment and maintenance
9. Recreation and culture
11. Restaurants and hotels
Energy consumption, production and import
|Average daily amount of communal waste generated per person (kg)||0.62||0.77||0.95|
|Average annual amount of communal waste generated per person (t)||0.23||0.28||0.346|
The 2020 outlook
What is the waste 2020 outlook?
The short-term objectives, 2009-2013, of the Waste Management Strategy are related to the establishment of an integrated waste management system.
The long-term objective, 2014-2018, of the Waste Management Strategy is to re-use or recycle 25 % of the total volume of packaging material waste – glass, paper, carton, metal and plastic. Waste prevention will start with a public awareness campaign.
Existing and planned responses
Waste - Responses
The Law on Environmental Protection related to waste management sets out an integrated system of waste management from generation to disposal, covering waste import, export and transit, staff training designed to upgrade knowledge and raise awareness, and information access and participation of the public in decision-making processes.
The Law on Packaging and Packaging Waste Management sets out the environmental requirements which packaging must meet in order to be marketed, management of packaging and packaging waste, reporting on packaging and packaging waste, economic instruments, and relevant issues regarding packaging and packaging waste. The law is in compliance with the EU regulation.
Upon enforcement of the current Law on Hazardous Waste Management, the preceding law ceased to be valid with the exception of the following by-law that shall be applied until new sub-acts take effect:
By-law on conditions and methods of sorting, packing and storing of secondary raw materials which sets out in detail conditions and methods of sorting, packing and preservation of waste – secondary raw materials which may be used after treatment, and which originate from technological production processes, recycling, processing or regeneration of waste substances, services, consumption or other activities.
The waste catalogue and waste lists aligned with the EU regulations are in print.
Until new sub-acts are adopted on the basis of the Law on Waste Management, regulations on the basis of the previously valid Law on Environmental Protection shall be applied. This sets out criteria for determination of the location of hazardous substance landfills, the method of sanitary and technical development of landfills for environmental protection, as well as methods of landfill restoration, methods of managing certain types of hazardous waste, producing inventories of types and quantities of hazardous substances in production, use, transport, marketing, storage and disposal, and providing waste categorisations in accordance with the Basel Convention on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal.
The Law on Conformity with the Basel Convention provides internationally aligned mechanisms and instruments for the control of transboundary movement of waste.
The Law on Waste Management prescribes the requirements for batteries and accumulators, waste oils, waste tyres, end-of-life vehicles, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), waste fluorescent tubes, persistent organic pollutant (POPs) waste, health-care waste, asbestos waste, and waste from industries using titanium dioxide which are harmonised with EU regulation.
The first National Waste Management Strategy was adopted in 2003 and its goal was to harmonise national waste management with EU strategy, and transpose and implement EU waste handling principles.
It was revised in 2009, and the Revised Strategy is in the process of adoption. This determines the basic orientation of future waste management in accordance with EU policy and the strategic determination by the Republic of Serbia; directs activities of harmonisation of legislation in the process of EU approximation; identifies responsibilities for waste and the importance and role of ownership-oriented capital; sets waste management goals for the short and long term; and establishes measures and activities for achievement of these goals.
National Strategy of Sustainable Development
The National Strategy of Sustainable Development was adopted by the government in 2008 and the Action Plan in March 2009. The strategy’s goal is to balance economic growth, environmental protection and social equity, creating a coherent entity supported by a corresponding institutional framework. It contributes significantly to the elimination of gaps between policy creation processes, harmonisation of possible conflicting objectives in policies, as well as identification of their mutual advantages.
Draft National Programme for Environment Protection
This programme defines the strategic objectives of environmental protection policy, as well as specific objectives for the protection of air, water and land and the influence of certain sectors on the environment – industry, energy, agriculture, mining, traffic, etc. It also identifies priority objectives within environmental media and sectors and suggests their reforms in order to achieve all the changes necessary for achievement of the objectives.
Waste prevention for Serbia
The Waste Management Strategy as well as the Law on Waste Management contain the waste hierarchy principle.
The objectives for 2009-2013 in the Waste Management Strategy are related to the establishment of an integrated waste management system.
The longer-term objective, 2014-2018, of the Waste Management Strategy is to re-use and recycling 25 % of the volume of packaging material waste – glass, paper, carton, metal and plastic, etc.
Waste prevention will start with a public awareness campaign.
The Waste Management Strategy governs the management of different types of waste, from the moment of its creation until its disposal, with the basic aim of establishing an overall system of waste management that will be organised in accordance with national and EU requirements and standards.
Bans are defined by the Law on Waste Management and harmonised with EU legislation and practice, and cover such areas as the disposal and incineration of waste which can be reused, mixing hazardous waste with municipal waste, etc.
Obligations defined by the Law on Waste Management prescribe waste prevention, prevention and reduction of waste production, reduction of unavoidable waste, and recovery or disposal of such waste including deadlines for achieving the goals.
At present, the only widespread economic instrument for waste management in Serbia is charging users for the collection and disposal of municipal waste. Typically, the collection of charges is carried out by public utility companies that deal with waste collection, transport and disposal.
Serbia lacks a number of significant economic instruments for waste management. In order to improve the current situation, the existing system should be reorganised and new economic instruments introduced. The starting point is:
- maximum observance of the principle that the polluter is the one who pays for the costs of pollution;
- establishment of an efficient, reliable and coherent system of instruments.
The producer responsibility principle is prescribed by the Law on Waste Management, and also the strategy. Manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of products that affect amounts of waste are responsible for the waste generation that results from their activities. The manufacturers bear the greatest responsibility because they determine the composition and characteristics of products and their packaging. The manufacturer is obliged to ensure reduction of waste generation, production of recyclable products, and the development of a reuse and recycling market.
There is as yet no tax on landfill, but one is proposed by the Waste Management Strategy. A system of service charging allows a tax on waste disposal to landfills.
There is also a proposal to introduce an eco-tax for specific products such as packaging materials for drinks and plastic bags.
The producers and importers of batteries and accumulators, as well as the producers and importers of appliances in which they are used will be obliged to mark them in ways that include information on separate collection, heavy-metal content, recycling and final disposal, etc.
The producers of waste oil, depending on the quantity produced per year, shall be obliged to provide a place of receipt and to inform the public until it is handed over to a duly authorised person for the purpose of treatment.
The producers or importers of electrical and electronic products shall be obliged to identify the recyclable components in order to inform the public.
Producers or importers shall be obliged to provide information on dismantling and appropriate treatment of end-of-use vehicles.
As prescribed by the Law on Packaging and Packaging Waste: Voluntary agreement shall mean written agreement concluded between the government and the economic sectors concerned, which shall be open to all parties who wish to meet the conditions of the agreement, with a view to fulfilling the national objectives of this Law.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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