Government Approves Long-Term Waste Management Plan

ASTANA – The government approved a programme for the modernisation of solid waste management for 2014-2050 at a meeting chaired by Kazakhstan Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov on Jan. 28.

The amount of municipal solid waste across the country is growing. Currently, municipal waste is placed in landfills without pre-sorting or neutralisation. Most landfills do not meet sanitation requirements and need remediation. In addition, waste is not systemically sorted at its origin at this time. The status quo is in dire need of reform.

Minister of Environment and Water Resources Nurlan Kapparov said about 500,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard, 300,000 tonnes of glass, 200,000 tonnes of metal and 500,000 tonnes of plastic are disposed of as trash per year in Kazakhstan.

Kapparov said that the programme will bring quality waste management and that it will make the waste management sector very attractive to private investors while still maintaining the principles and foundations needed to build a green economy.

The project’s main goal is to increase the number of waste collection trucks in hopes of increasing trash collection coverage. Also, biodegradable waste, waste packages and hazardous materials will be collected separately.  Landfill capacity will be increased 100 percent by 2050.

The programme is divided into three parts and will be completed in 2050.

“These phases are laid out in the Kazakhstan 2050 strategy and the Path to a Green Economy,” Kapparov said.

He also announced plans to establish a single centre for waste management using subsidies from Damu Zhasyl, a company run by the Ministry.

During the discussion, Minister of Economy and Budget Planning Yerbolat Dossayev expressed his opinion on refocusing efforts to improve solid waste disposal. The state provides support measures at the initial stage that divide responsibilities between the state and private business. The minister noted that in this sector of the economy, it would be more efficient to use public-private partnerships. Much depends on the doings of local executive bodies, however, and how they go about building waste management plants and choose to collect garbage.

The head of government suggested a united vertical system for waste collection. According to him, the desired results will not be achieved if factories are constructed separately and containers and garbage trucks are separately purchased.

“All legal and regulatory frameworks should be amended to accommodate a vertically integrated system. This is the favoured method of waste collection in Western countries. This is the only way forward,” said Akhmetov.

Summing up the meeting, the prime minister proposed that the suggested approaches be approved. He recalled that two years ago at a government meeting, the head of state had asked for solid waste collection reform. Foreign experts helped study the related issues. The government recently adopted a related programme. Akhmetov instructed the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources to submit a government draft resolution to the prime minister’s office.

Akhmetov said that funds for the programme were designated by the initial plan. Pilot projects implemented in the cities of Aktau and Karaganda are taking shape. The head of government charged the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, the Ministry of Regional Development, the Ministry of Economy and Budget Planning and regional deputy akims (governors) with monitoring the projects in Aktau and Karaganda.

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