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Landfills Audit: What is Wrong with Waste Disposal in Russia
September 29, 2020 14:08


Landfills in Russia are being liquidated slowly. Until 2024, there is a risk of depleting the capacity of landfills in almost 50 regions, budgets for creating a single operator for waste management are not spent. This conclusion was reached by the Accounts Chamber, which issued a report on the situation with Russian landfills.

Russia produces 450 kg of waste per person per year. Only 7% of them are recycled, more than 90% are stored in landfills. Moreover, the number of unauthorized landfills is several times higher than the number of official landfills. The authorities are fighting unauthorized landfills, but this increases the load on landfills. If nothing changes, the capacity of landfills will be exhausted already next year in 17 regions, in another 32 - until 2024.

These and many other data are given in the report of the Accounting Chamber published on September 29. The auditor, former Minister of Construction Mikhail Men, prepared a report on the implementation of the program for eliminating the harm from landfills and the creation of a unified system for handling solid municipal waste (MSW). The main conclusions of the report: landfills are being liquidated slowly, the harm from them is difficult to measure, and different state organizations are working on the development of a unified system, receiving budget funds and duplicating each other's functions. The volume of necessary investments in the industry is 1 trillion rubles for the next 10 years.

Elimination of landfills

In 2019, 65 million tons of MSW were produced in Russia, it is assumed that they should be accepted by 2,832 waste disposal facilities entered in the State Register. But in parallel, in 2019 alone, 27,189 unauthorized landfills with an area of 12,755 hectares were identified. The authorities managed to liquidate 18,039 landfills with an area of only 1,613 hectares.

Within the framework of the national project "Ecology", several federal projects related to garbage are working, among them are "Clean Country" (allocation of subsidies to municipalities for the elimination of landfills) and "Integrated system of solid municipal waste management" (FP MSW, involves, among other things, the creation of a single operator for MSW management under the leadership of the Ministry of Natural Resources - "Russian Environmental Operator", REO). At the same time, within the framework of the first program, the regions were allocated 6.7 billion rubles, of which 6.4 billion rubles were spent. 16 landfills within the city limits were liquidated, the area of restored land was 45 hectares. The activities of this program in 2019 were recognized by the Accounts Chamber as generally implemented. At the same time, the auditors make a reservation that it is impossible to materially confirm the “cessation of harmful effects”, because measurements of the parameters of air, water and soil are not carried out.

With the second program, it is more difficult - within the budget, 11.4 billion rubles were planned for the FC MSW in 2019, and only 624.5 million were spent. “Thus, the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia did not properly fulfill the powers of the founder of the “REO”. As a result of untimely and incomplete financing, the effectiveness of the activities of the created "REO" was not ensured. As of January 1, 2020, a debt to 11 creditors in the amount of 15.9 million rubles was formed, most of which (85%) falls on contracts for the supply of office equipment, which creates the risk of collecting penalties and court costs from REO," the report states.

Duplicating functions

To create a unified waste management system, an appropriate federal scheme is needed, which would aggregate information on landfills throughout the country. The auditors of the Accounts Chamber found that 110.5 million rubles should have been spent on the development of such a REO scheme in 2019. But the Ministry of Natural Resources did not finance this work, but allocated 17.3 million rubles for similar developments to another enterprise - FGBU "UralNII" Ecology". At the same time, Rosprirodnadzor allocated 142 million rubles for such a development to another organization - FGBU "FTSAO".

In addition to the territorial scheme, the authorities at different levels need a unified information system. In 2019, the Ministry of Natural Resources instructed the UralNII "Ecology" to do this work, allocating 2.7 million rubles only for drawing up the terms of reference for the development of this system (GIS UTKO). In parallel, Rosprirodnadzor allocates 142 million last year and 212 million this year to modernize the existing information system (EGIS UOIT). "Comparing the list of subsystems in the terms of reference for the modernization of the UGIS UOIT with the list of information that must be contained in the GIS of MSW accounting in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 13.5 of Law No. 89-FZ, we can conclude about their identity," the Accounts Chamber reports.

“The situation is under constant control of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources. Given the unfavorable conditions for the spread of the COVID-19 virus, quarantine restrictions and a self-isolation regime, there were no disruptions in waste disposal during this difficult period. Regional operators continue to work, although some of them are in a difficult situation,"- the Ministry of Natural Resources comments. More than 8 billion rubles have been allocated from the budget to the regions to ensure the work of regional waste operators as of September 14, the department notes.

Business opinion

Representatives of the Accounts Chamber provided Forbes with a commentary on the report of Andrey Shipelov, CEO of one of the largest operators in the MSW market, RT-Invest. According to him, in order to reform the garbage industry "to the level of countries with modern waste management systems", about 1 trillion rubles is needed in the next 10 years. The Proekt publication recently considered that RT-Invest should receive about 150 billion rubles from residents of Moscow, the Moscow region and Tatarstan in the next 10 years and invest 160 billion rubles in the construction of 5 waste incineration plants.

Shipelov believes that there is an opportunity to increase the share of recycled waste from the current 8% (auditors write about 7%) to 36% by 2024. For this, it is necessary, for example, to establish a system for the separate collection of organic waste. If they are processed, for example, into animal feed, then tariffs can be reduced by 20-30%. Now, according to the Accounting Chamber, tariffs for the services of regional operators range from 244 rubles to 1411 rubles per cubic meter. Collectability fell from 79% in 2019 to 76% in the first half of 2020. As a result,   the Accounts Chamber states that there is a risk that 22 regional operators, which provide services to 15.1 million residents in 19 regions, may stop working.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: ecology     

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