International initiative for hazardous waste management
While developed countries in the European Union, such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark, recycle more than 80% of construction waste, none is recycled in Serbia. There are big amounts of construction waste in urban areas endangering the population’s safety, as it is not being dumped adequately, but thrown around settlements and in water streams, said Siniša Mitrović, adviser in the Chamber of Commerce and industry of Serbia. At a workshop held in the institution’s premises within the Twinning Project on Improvement of Hazardous Waste Management, he said a large portion of last year’s floods in the country, resulting in EUR 1.6 billion of total damage which equals 5% of gross domestic product, was caused by dumping construction waste in rivers.
There is no construction waste recycling in Serbia, which causes big damage, as material from non-renewable sources such as stone and gravel is utilized without limits, and dumping permanently devastates the environment, Mitrović added. The goal of the development of a national action plan for construction waste management, in his words, is to economize, to support the establishment of recycling centres, and full recycling. ”The chamber, through its members and associations, will stimulate investment in the construction waste management industry and work responsibly on the best solutions for our economy and new green jobs,” Mitrović said.
The European Union provided 95% of funds for the twinning project, while the rest is financed by Serbia.
The twinning project is implemented by the Environment Agency Austria, German Federal Ministry for the Environment, and Serbia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and its Environmental Management Centre. The initiative was started in May 2015, it has a span of 24 months and is worth EUR 1.5 million. The European Union provided 95% of funds, while the rest is financed by Serbia. The aim is to improve hazardous waste management through the development of the legal frame in line with EU standards. The project includes the production of four action plans: three for particular waste flows – construction, vehicles and persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and an integrated national plan.