Possible European mission to Romania on waste

Recycling in Romania

Romania has a very low recycling rate for municipal waste. Only 14%, 7% material recycling and 7% composting still relies overwhelmingly on landfill.

The Waste Management Framework Directive requires EU countries to reach certain waste recycling targets – 50% by 2020, 55% by 2025, 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035. Numerous petitions to the European Parliament point out that in most Romanian towns and villages, waste is not disposed of or collected separately. The petitioners are calling for EU bodies to intervene to make Romania comply with its obligations.

USRPLUS MEP Vlad Gheorghe, member of the Petitions Committee, proposed a fact-finding mission of the European body to Romania.

“The Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament warns that the Commission also recalls the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (18 October 2018, C-301/17) on 68 landfills that should have been closed by 16 July 2009, and 48 of them were still operating in January 2020. The Commission is also monitoring the situation of the 101 municipal waste landfills covered by the Accession Treaty (which were exempted until 16 July 2017).

The Commission is aware of the issues raised by the petition. It has taken all the necessary measures aimed not only at implementing EU waste management legislation but also at facilitating the construction of the necessary infrastructure, mainly through EU co-financing.

None of the Member States has the whole collection and recycling, waste management chain in place. But the discrepancies are wide, and Romania is second last in the EU in recycling, followed only by Malta.

That is why waste management and therefore selective collection – the subject of today’s petition – refers to the acute need for local administrations to be supported by the European institutions to write projects with co-funding, ensure the closure and greening of landfills, educate the community and monitor implementation. I propose organising a mission to see the exact situation on the ground, the need for support and possible solutions.

Moreover, the major differences in the capacities of European countries often lead to illegal waste trafficking, predominantly to countries in the east of the Union, such as Romania. We cannot talk about environmental policies without combating corruption within each Member State and cross-border crime. It is imperative that the European Public Prosecutor’s Office starts its work urgently and that the mechanism for linking funding to the rule of law becomes operational.”

Illegal rubbish dumps

USRPLUS MEP Vlad Gheorghe denounces illegal rubbish dumps in Olt county in a post on his Facebook page. The MEP filmed the improper dumping of waste in a field near Corabia, on a trip with his colleague Octavian Berceanu, the party’s nominee for the head of the Environment Guard.

“We came to check on the ground what several citizens had told us – and it seems they were right. According to our information, this landfill is illegal. It is operating on a land concession granted by the Corabia, Olt, municipality for the purpose of storing vegetable waste. The reality that can be seen with the naked eye is that the vegetable waste is, in fact, household and recyclable waste (plastic, paper) mixed and stored here in conditions that clearly contravene the legislation in force,” says Vlad Gheorghe.

European experts have warned on several occasions about non-compliant landfills. By implication, the lack of modern waste platforms is one of Romania’s biggest environmental problems. What’s more, pollution from landfills has been the subject of environmental monitoring by European institutions in recent years. Both EU and Romanian legislation require waste to be disposed in environmentally-friendly way and mindful about human health. The uncontrolled disposal of waste is completely prohibited.

Since the beginning of this year we are obliged to collect food and vegetable waste separately from household waste. And municipalities must make all the necessary arrangements for separate collection.

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