According to Republic of Armenia‘‘s Ministry of Urban Construction, every year over 700,000 tons of waste are generated in the country. Every day 450-470 ton of municipal waste are transported to the Nubarashen landfill.

Association of Investigative Journalists (AIJ) in Armenia reports that no waste sorting or recycling occurs in any of the 60 landfills in Armenia; instead an easier approach is taken. The garbage is thrown into a working area set to be used that day, then bulldozers flatten the working area, creating a garbage layer 0.3 meters thick. Over the last 50 years, this approach has created over 7.5 million tons of domestic waste in the Nubarashen landfill, out of which it is planned to extract 1.4 megawatts of electricity using Japanese technology.

According to 2006 data provided by the Yerevan Municipality, 10% of the municipal waste that goes to Nubarashen landfill is paper, 25% is food waste, 3 percent is textile, 3% polyethylene, 5% is glass, 43% are stones and livestock excrement.

AIJ reports that as a result of poor safety regulations in the landfills, the waste spontaneously combusts, emitting dangerous pollutants. The waste fields are not technically equipped; there is no system of calculating waste, machines are not washed, and the waste layers are not flattened and covered with soil. There are no facilities to sort, recycle and reuse the waste. The sorting of recyclable waste, paper, carton, metal, glass and plastics is done haphazardly, primarily by individuals who enter the landfills. We don‘‘t throw anything away

The plastic parts of refrigerators made in Soviet times and now obsolete, washing machines, surfboards, women‘‘s shoe heels, phones and any waste that consists of plastics, become profile (construction material) in Yuri Sahakyan‘‘s workshop.

“It‘‘s known that plastic can be recycled many times, but I‘‘m the only one in Armenia who created a workshop to make plastic profiles from plastic waste, ” said Yuri Sahakyan, director and founder of the company Poli Serv. The workshop has been in operation for eight years in the building that used to house Abovyan‘‘s textile factory. It produces 100 types of profiles and is known as one of the leading companies in the field in Armenia.

“I receive materials from people who collect them from different refrigerators, or from washing machine repair workshops, garbage cans, streets. I pay $1 for one kilo. By reusing second hand materials, I save money, because newly made materials cost $2 per kilo. Also, the quality of my products doesn‘‘t suffer, otherwise we wouldn‘‘t be among the leaders. Furthermore, my approach has environmental significance, ” Sahakyan said. Each month his workshop processes 5-10 tons of material, half of which are from recycled materials.

Soon new technology will be implemented on the first floor of the factory, which will help to recycle plastic bottles. “I lived for 20 days in Germany, where there are four different colored garbage cans. It‘‘s not a hard thing to learn to throw garbage in the respective cans, but we do not have that opportunity yet, ” Sahakyan said.

Each month, Hakob Barseghyan brings about 500 kilos of plastic to Poli Serv. For ten years this job has brought in some additional income, and he already knows many of the refrigerator and washing machine repairmen. “I know that people find many plastic items in the garbage dumps, they even bring shoe soles for recycling. If you use your brains, there is a lot stuff that can be found and sold, ” he said. Landfill combustion is hazardous to the health

Domestic waste is diverse in its ingredients and composition. It can consist of wood, glass, resin items, paper, food remnants, waste from gardens or farms, plastic items – plastic cups, bot

Ano da Publicação:
WARMER BULLETIN ENEWS #27-2007-July 06, 2007
Kit Strange/Warmer Bulletin
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