By 2025, the Republic of Croatia needs to recover at least 55% of the mass of municipal waste by recycling and preparing for reuse.
Data on waste management in counties show a significant lag in achieving these goals. For example, in Split-Dalmatia County in 2021, the rate of recovery of municipal waste collected as part of the public service was only 4%, or 22% with additionally determined and estimated amounts of municipal waste. In addition, there are regional differences, with the southern counties recording significantly worse results compared to the northern and northwestern counties.
The city of Split separately collected 16.5% in 2021.
The need for urgent implementation of a sustainable waste management system is also indicated by the Karepovac landfill in Split, which is at the edge of its capacity, and although rehabilitation is underway, additional piles of mixed municipal waste from other cities and municipalities have been dumped at Karepovac for years.
The city of Split has been paying incentive fees for years for exceeding the prescribed limit amount of mixed municipal waste. For 2020, compensation was paid in the amount of HRK 338,909.46, while for 2021 it was HRK 569,967.22.
The normative framework for waste management is vague, and this results in different outcomes in practice. Although there are excellent examples such as Prelog with 13 surrounding municipalities and the island of Krk, they are unfortunately among the exceptions.
This is the conclusion of the round table that Zelena akcija on behalf of the thematic network JEDRO, a consortium of 10 civil society associations, including the Association for Nature, Environment and Sustainable Development Sunce and the Faculty of Political Sciences, held on June 27 in Zagreb’s Journalism Center.
The round table was attended by Tončika Jarak from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Aleksandra Čilić from the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, Davor Vić from Zagreb’s Čistoća, Marijan Galović from VG Čistoća from Velika Gorica, Tihana Jelačić Radiković from the Pre-Kom, Ivan Jurešić, from the company Ponikve Krk, Sonja Polonijo from the Association of Cities and Marko Košak from Zelena akcija.
The results of the research conducted within the thematic network JEDRO were presented.
The results of the research conducted within the thematic network, based on the methodology developed by the Faculty of Political Sciences and data collected from public records and public opinion research on a representative sample, were presented. The research identified cooperation between local self-government units as one of the main success factors, which was confirmed by the examples of Prelog and Krk that were presented at the round table. Also, the research showed that separate waste collection is carried out more efficiently when it is organized by public service providers than when it is carried out by private providers, which was also agreed by the interlocutors of the round table.
The service providers pointed out the biggest problems they face when implementing a sustainable waste management system, with an emphasis on the normative framework that largely does not follow the needs and capabilities of local self-government units. Also, it was pointed out the need to record the mass of produced and disposed of mixed waste in addition to the rate of separately collected waste.
The proposal of the new national Waste Management Plan does not bring significant changes.
The Ministry and The Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund announced the recent adoption of a new national waste management plan and the announcement of certain tenders for the allocation of funds for local infrastructure. The associations present pointed out that the Plan’s proposal does not bring significant changes and that the funds for infrastructure construction are insufficient for the development of a complete system.
Among other things, the Plan does not deviate from the concept of regional centers, which, as an example of the first two centers – Marišćina and Kaštijun – proved to be ecologically unsustainable and economically unprofitable. How much the proposed models do not work in practice was shown by a few questions from the audience that problematized a whole series of already notorious problems with the functioning of the aforementioned centers. Part of the participants of the round table pointed out that it is necessary to reconsider this concept and direct funds to the local level, which would contribute to the faster fulfillment of the goals of reducing the generation, reuse, recycling, and composting of waste. This is one of the recommendations made by the JEDRO network.
In addition to revising the normative framework and greater investment in decentralized infrastructure, a sustainable system also requires the engagement of service users, which was agreed upon by all present.