Raising taxes and fees for waste disposal in Central and Eastern Europe could worsen the waste situation

Although financial instruments aimed at improving the waste situation in the Central and Eastern Europe accession countries are much less effective than they are in the majority of European Union states, an abrupt increase in waste fees and charges could lead to illegal dumping in the absence of efficient monitoring and enforcement, says a new study into waste disposal across the region.

The report, Waste Management Policies in Central and Eastern Europe: Current Policies and Trends, was launched by Czech consulting and engineering company CHV CR Ltd, and contributed to by central and local governments, municipalities, NGOs, private sector, investors and all those interested in waste management and environmental strategic planning from the region. According to the study, 90% of waste is produced by industry, and the amount of waste produced per capita is higher than in EU countries. However, although the amount of solid municipal waste in the region is growing fast, there is still less produced per capita compared to the EU countries.

There is also a need to improve national statistical information systems in order to improve monitoring and enforcement, especially with regard to hazardous waste management, and in order to provide information to both the general public and decision-makers.

On the positive side, there are many interesting opportunities in respect to recycling in the region, which could become even more economically attractive with the aid of an improved legal framework and financial instruments such as product charges, disposal taxes, and take-back schemes.

According to the report, the main driving force behind changes in waste disposal in the region is the need for countries to comply with EU legislation in order to qualify for accession. However, lack of detailed financial strategies are currently hampering the use of EU and other international funds, a situation which cross-boarder co-operation could assist by lowering implementation costs, especially in the utilisation of wastes such as oil, tyres, batteries and end-of-life vehicles.

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