Six municipalities in the country will be part of a project that will have the circular economy at its core.
An agreement that has already passed in the Assembly between the Albanian and German parties underlines that in addition to a financial aid of 6.5 million euros, services, personnel and materials will also be made available. The municipalities that will be beneficiaries of this project are not disclosed in the published report.
“The project in question aims to contribute to social and economic development in the Republic of Albania and starts from implementation in 2023.
The agreement for the project “Circular economy for sustainable urban development in Albania” is a grant agreement, which will be allocated by the German government for the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Environment for the development of economic instruments (e.g. landfill taxes, subsidies for composting plants).
These instruments must support the ban on the disposal of (untreated) organic waste in landfills, in accordance with the EU directive on landfills,” says the Albanian government’s communication that accompanies the agreement already submitted to the Assembly and awaiting approval.
Among other things, the project will have as its objective the alignment of local legislation with that of the EU regarding the part of the circular economy, which in our country is a small fraction in the embryonic stage.
Secondly, according to the relation, it is intended to create a system of extended responsibility of the producer, for specific waste flows. Thirdly, undertaking implementation measures for the waste management service system in partner municipalities and finally improving resource efficiency, ecological design and green production.
“The project will be implemented in six municipalities at the national level. Implementation is expected to begin in July 2023 and end in February 2026,” the agreement statement says. The implementing agency from the German side will be GIZ, while the Albanian institution in charge will be the Ministry of Tourism and Environment. The return to attention of the circular economy comes at a time when waste management in the country is oriented towards incinerator projects, which have recently become the object of SPAK’s investigation.
The circular economy which is one of the most common approaches developed countries have is essentially a production and consumption model that involves sharing, renting, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as be possible. In this way, the life cycle of the products is extended. At least this is the concept of how the European Parliament defines the circular economy.
The incinerators have received 110 million euros from the budget so far
Meanwhile, since 2015, the government has invested through public private partnership (PPP) projects in the construction of three incinerators in Fier Elbasan and Tirana for burning garbage, although the incinerator is the last step in waste treatment, after separation at the source and recycling . All three of these incinerators are already under investigation by SPAK, as they received together payments from the budget in the amount of almost 12 billion lek (110 million euros).
In 2021-2022, investigations were opened for the incinerators of Fier and Elbasan. According to SPAK, the investigation found numerous violations, starting with procedures for granting concessions and then with falsification of ownership documents, creation of fictitious companies, fictitious invoices and payment for works that were not performed. Fictitious payment schemes were used to cover and hide the true nature of the illegal origin of monetary amounts, the true nature of their transfer and displacement.
The incinerator of Elbasan received from the budget for the period 2015-2021, as much as the term of the concession, about 2.4 billion lek, according to data from the Ministry of Finance.
Fier’s incinerator received about ALL 4 billion for the period 2015-2022.
At the beginning of August of this year, SPAK started the investigation for the Tirana incinerator. SPAK announced that it is investigating the criminal offenses of “Fraud with serious consequences”, in cooperation, “Abuse of duty”, “Passive corruption of high state officials or local elected officials”, “Cleaning of the proceeds of criminal offenses or of criminal activity”, carried out in cooperation.
The incinerator of Tirana has received payments from the budget of 5.5 billion lek for 2019-2022, while in total it has collected, according to the balance sheet, about 9.9 billion lek because it also receives payments from the municipalities and for the soil removal service.
FOLLOW “PANORAMA TV” LIVE © Panorama.al