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Opinions & Interviews

14 Feb 2018

Belarus interested in Sweden’s experience in waste management

Belarus interested in Sweden’s experience in waste management

MINSK, 14 February (BelTA) - Belarus is interested in studying the experience of Sweden in the field of waste management, Belarus’ Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Protection Andrei Khudyk said during the seminar “SmartCity-Sweden: waste management, closed-loop economy”, BelTA has learned.

“We recently discussed plans to develop Belarusian-Swedish cooperation and are already holding a seminar on smart city. I hope that it will become a good tradition and that our cooperation will be gaining momentum. I would like to note that the seminar on SimbioCity held in Brest last year attracted great public attention. One of the priorities of Belarus’ strategy for social and economic development is environmental protection and the application of the best practices of the international community. We strive to not only improve the overall state of the environment but reform the approaches to various issues in the economic, social and environmental areas, including waste management. Sweden recycles more than 99% of all household waste. We want to learn from this experience. It is of great interest to us,” the minister said.

Belarus’ Deputy Minister of Housing and Utilities Gennady Trubilo noted that the Belarusian municipal solid waste management system has undergone changes on recent years to ensure their rational use and minimize the harmful effects on human health and the environment. Belarus has introduced the principle of extended producer and importer responsibility in waste management practices. This helped increase the total collection of secondary material resources by more than 30%. Today the country recycles 17% of household waste, which is 1.7 times more than in 2012. In 2017 the country approved the national strategy for the management of municipal solid waste and secondary material resources up to 2035. The document provides for recycling up to 50% of household waste. We are set to reduce the volumes of landfilled waste, develop new areas of waste treatment. For us it is very important to study the experience of other countries, especially Sweden which has achieved great results in this area,” he stressed.

“Smart city is a very broad concept that covers a number of areas: from public transport to architecture. Today, the focus is on waste management. Waste is a resource that can be used for economic growth and well-being of our citizens. Sweden processes almost all of its waste and even imports it from Norway and the UK. I hope that today's seminar will be the beginning of an in-depth exchange of experience between Sweden and Belarus in this and other areas related to the smart city concept,” said Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sweden to Belarus Christina Johannesson. In her words, Belarus and Sweden have been actively developing cooperation in environmental protection. The two countries implement joint projects in water treatment and water disposal in Belarusian cities. A biogas plant has been opened in Baranovichi.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Belarus is working on introducing the smart city concept as part of the National Action Plan for Green Economy Development. A number of training seminars have been organized to discuss the best environmental models of urban development. One of such seminars was held in Minsk on 14 February. Representatives of Belarus and Sweden discussed the use of industrial waste as a resource for future energy production, the processing of biodegradable wastes into biogas and clean fuel for local transport, the use of logging waste at biofuel plants, the closure of old landfills, and other issues.

 

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