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Eliminating spontaneous dumps, separating solid waste and protecting environment — Ministry of Ecology reports on implementation of President's instructions

Wednesday, 22 July 2020, 18:42:59

At an online conference, Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of Kazakhstan Magzum Mirzagaliyev spoke about measures to implement the instructions of the Head of State given at an expanded government session.

The Head of State pays special attention to environmental issues. At an expanded government session, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev set two tasks for the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources:

To provide the legislative base and favorable investment conditions for the implementation of the "Waste to Energy" technology in the shortest time possible.

To carry out systematic work to prevent and eliminate spontaneous dumps around settlements.


Waste to energy technology will attract private investors

Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources has carried out certain work on the legislative introduction of the Waste to Energy.

“As I have noted more than once, we have a very low share of waste recycling on average throughout the country, only 15%. Whereas in European countries this figure is two times higher — an average of 30%. According to the Concept of Green Economy, we must bring this figure to 40% by 2030,” Mirzagaliyev said.

However, today the tariffs for garbage collection in Kazakhstan are low and do not take into account the costs of processing and disposal of solid household waste. Therefore, it is not profitable for private investors to enter this industry.

The Waste to Energy technology can be of interest to private investors. Because as a result of incineration of waste, electricity is produced and sold to the general electric grid.

“Next year we plan to hold the first auctions among investors for the construction of such a plant. Whoever presents the lowest cost of electricity will be the winner of the auction. The corresponding bill, on behalf of the Head of State, has already been prepared and approved by the Majilis. It is expected to be considered in the Senate of the Parliament in autumn,” the minister said.

In addition, the bill provides that these incineration plants will operate in accordance with the requirements equivalent to the European Directive "On Industrial Emissions.’’ Today in Europe, such plants have the lowest emission rates. For example, in Vienna at the Spittelau waste incineration plant, dioxin emissions are only up to 1 gram per year.

“We plan to launch such factories in a pilot mode in 6 cities of the republic: Aktobe, Almaty, Atyrau, Nur-Sultan, Taraz and Shymkent. Work with potential investors has already begun. Also, our ministry is now actively working on this issue with the akimats on the availability of land plots, infrastructure and guaranteed waste loading,” said Magzum Mirzagaliyev.


1,635 spontaneous dumps eliminated in 10 days

Mirzagaliyev elaborated on the ongoing work to eliminate and prevent spontaneous dumps.

First. Together with the akimats, we have already begun the elimination of illegal dumps throughout Kazakhstan, discovered during space monitoring.

Monitoring was carried out by JSC Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary by order of the ministry. It covers territories around major cities within a radius of 50 km. To date, more than 7.5 thousand landfills have been identified in all regions of the country. The ministry, together with akimats, approved plans for their liquidation. In the last 10 days alone, 1,635 spontaneous dumps, or about 20% of the total, have been liquidated.

Active work is underway in the Karaganda and Atyrau regions, where today more than 60% and 40% of spontaneous dumps, respectively, have been eliminated.

Second. The ministry last week launched a hot line to collect information from residents on natural landfills in each region. You can send a message to Whatsapp number 8-777-595-24-90. In the first 5 days, the hotline has already received 223 reports of spontaneous dumps.

Third. Together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, social activists, volunteers and journalists will carry out large-scale public raids on spontaneous dumps.

“This Monday, for example, a raid was carried out on spontaneous dumps around the capital. Similar raids will be carried out in all regions. We will regularly report on their results in the media and social networks,” the minister said.

During the raid, it was found that most of the waste is construction waste. This is due to the fact that construction projects make agreements with waste disposal organizations, which do not have a contractual relationship with the landfill.

“Undoubtedly, we bring construction and waste disposal companies to administrative responsibility and they pay fines for unauthorized dumps. The problem is that these fines are low. That is, it is cheaper for companies to pay this fine than to take construction waste to the landfill,” Mirzagaliyev said.

For the systematic solution of the issue of unplanned dumps in the draft of the new Environmental Code, the ministry provides for the following measures:

First. Environmental education.

According to Magzum Mirzagaliyev, we must change the ecological thinking of the population, show children, by our example, respect for nature. For example, take the same garbage with you and, moreover, not burn it, teach children to take care of plants and animals. Participate in conservation activities, plant trees, protect our smaller brothers.

It all starts from childhood. That is why the Head of State instructed the Ministry of Education to introduce a new subject in schools for the environmental education of children. President Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich announced this in his Twitter account this morning.

Second. These are penalties.

In recent days, there has been an influx of tourists to natural sites, but they leave behind huge mountains of garbage. According to the minister, the installation of trash cans does not solve the problem.

“We are encouraged to install trash cans. But, as practice shows, the more we install, the more citizens will litter. Do we want to see our natural wealth in garbage cans? In this regard, we are forced to fine. We have worked out the issue with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. And from this Saturday we will go out on raids on national parks and recreation areas to monitor the situation and take action immediately, on the spot, and we will fine. Community activists and volunteers will also participate with us,” the minister said.

As Mirzagaliyev noted, President Tokayev instructed to toughen responsibility for violation and harm to nature and to revise fines upwards.

“Only our close-knit joint efforts will help preserve the unique natural resources of our country. Therefore, I appeal to journalists, bloggers, ecologists, public figures, everyone who is not indifferent to the state of our environment — let's all together, including by our own example, teach society, every citizen of Kazakhstan to respect nature, take care of it,” the minister said.


Lake Kobeituz will be given the status of a specially protected area

According to the Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources Magzum Mirzagaliyev, the problem with the barbaric attitude of people to the lake will be solved by giving it the status of a specially protected area.

“The facts of the last month have shown how this unique lake can be dirtied in a short time. Mobile posts and barriers cannot solve the problem. If there is a barrier, there will always be someone willing to move it. Therefore, it is necessary to solve the problem in two ways. The first is through the environmental education of citizens and the strengthening of fines. Second, given the uniqueness of this lake, we believe it is necessary to give it the status of a specially protected natural area in order to be subject to the appropriate restrictive regime,” he said.

Recall that July 20, the pink lake Kobeituz was closed due to the large influx of visitors. In addition, on the same day it became known that salt from the lake began to be sold as a cure for coronavirus. The Ministry of Ecology began to check this fact.

The Minister of Ecology also commented on the possibility of introducing a ban on climbing the famous stone sphinx in Burabay.

“I cannot support such a proposal, because I believe that our citizens should have the right and opportunity to travel to nature, to visit the most beautiful places. Those places for which our country is famous,’’ said Magzum Mirzagaliyev

But at the same time, the minister noted the need to monitor the state of lakes and natural landscapes.

“If there are facts similar to Kobeituz, then, of course, it will also be necessary to come there in order to preserve our natural wealth. Moreover, we must pass it on to our descendants,” Magzum Mirzagaliyev emphasized.

The minister added that this issue will be worked out separately, people will be sent to the stone sphinx and expressed his readiness to go there together with journalists and ecologists and make a decision on the spot.


Environmentalists found solution to problem in Atyrau

Minister Magzum Mirzagaliyev responded to the complaint of Atyrau residents about "bad smell and bad air." They posted a cry for help on social networks earlier this month.

The monitoring showed two reasons: a landfill for household waste located in the northern part and the so-called "rotten gully».

“The solution to this problem is the construction of a new landfill. Akimat has already allocated 50 hectares for a new landfill, design and estimate documentation has been developed, and we hope that in the near future they will start building a modern landfill that meets all sanitary requirements. And I myself went to the fields of evaporation, the so-called "rotten gully". The problem is that all sewage is discharged there either without treatment, or with an insufficient level of treatment. Together with the akimat, we have worked very seriously over the past year, in the left-bank part of the city of Atyrau, a site has been determined where new treatment facilities will be built. Commissioning is expected at the end of 2020. Accordingly, the problem with the lack of modern sewage treatment facilities will be resolved,” the minister said.

He also expressed hope that starting next year, together with the akimat and the Atyrau oil refinery, they will start working on the reclamation of evaporation fields.


Oil fountain at Zhetybai field in Mangystau region stopped

The head of the Ministry of Ecology confirmed the fact of an oil spill at the Zhetybai field in the Mangystau region.

“Yes, indeed, this fact was confirmed, it happened July 17. Now, with the participation of Mangystaumunaigaz, the oil spill has been stopped,” Magzum Mirzagaliyev said, answering journalists' questions.

According to him, cleaning work is now coming.

“Work is to be done to clean up and collect the spilled oil. Most importantly, the fact of the spill was identified and stopped in time,” Magzum Mirzagaliyev said.


Ministry to fight wrong development of water banks

According to the head of the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources Magzum Mirzagaliyev, there are only 13 national parks in Kazakhstan: 12 of them fall under the competence of the ministry, the Burabay National Park is under the authority of the Presidential Property Management Department. Currently, the Ministry of Ecology is working on the preparation of master plans for 11 national parks with an emphasis on the development of ecological tourism, rather than the hotel and restaurant business, often referred to as "barbecue tourism".

Ecological tourism is promoting tourism and attracting the maximum number of tourists, the development of hiking tourism. That is, through the trail. When there are facts of incorrect development, then they must be fought. It is necessary to study everything within the framework of the current legislation,” the minister said.

At the same time, he stressed that the issue of building hotels on the shores of Kolsai Lake will be dealt with separately.

“The problems of Lake Issyk were not related to the construction of buildings, but the issue was related to the hydroelectric power plant and, accordingly, water was discharged. There was a shortage of water. We discussed this issue with the akimat of the Almaty region and agreed to correct this negative situation as much as possible,” Mirzagaliyev said.


Separate collection and disposal of household waste carried out as usual

Also Mirzagaliyev spoke about the ongoing work on the separation of solid waste and its correct disposal. According to him, during the quarantine, the amount of garbage increased, especially solid household waste. To date, separate waste collection has already been introduced in many cities. Today, the ministry is working on strengthening, expanding this work, covering those cities in which separate waste collection has not yet been introduced. During the pandemic, work on the separate collection and removal of garbage was carried out as usual by local executive bodies.

“We in large cities tried to cover EPR operators through garbage collection organizations, we tried, where possible, to place separate containers for disposable masks and medical waste, because they must be disposed of separately,” the minister said.

There are cities where this work could not be done. These are, first of all, regional centers, rural districts.

“There, we urged the population to put such garbage in separate bags, because when it gets to the waste processing or waste sorting lines, so that there, those people who are engaged in segregation and selection of garbage could put it in another box and then take it to specialized ovens, which are engaged in the disposal of medical waste,” said Magzum Mirzagaliyev.


New draft law on animal protection developed in Kazakhstan

The minister also spoke about the new law on animal protection.

“We have developed a draft law, it is now being coordinated with other government agencies, under discussion. In the fall, we plan to go with him to the Majilis of the Parliament. We believe that this bill will attract a lot of public attention, because we have this problem,” Mirzagaliyev said.

The minister informed about the possible toughening of responsibility for cruelty to animals up to criminal.

“We have all witnessed the barbaric treatment of animals in the past few months. There were enough facts. We believe that it is really necessary to toughen responsibility, including criminal responsibility,” he said.

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