New Zagreb Waste Disposal Rules Failing to Solve Landfill Issues

Lauren Simmonds

Updated on:

Slaven Branislav Babic/PIXSELL
Slaven Branislav Babic/PIXSELL

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the stomach-turning stench from Zagreb’s Jakusevec site is a clear reminder to Novi Zagreb residents that the somewhat infamous city landfill is still very much in function. The site receives tonnes of municipal waste on a daily basis, but it also seems to be organic waste being dumped there that is causing a particularly vile smell. We’re all still waiting for the city authorities to announce a concrete plan for closing this outdated landfill, and until then, so many people are left wondering about precisely how justified the new Zagreb waste disposal rules are, reports HRT.

Having to close their windows due to the unpleasant odors that spread from Zagreb’s Jakusevec landfill has become quite normal for the tenants of the Novi Zagreb settlements. The former councilwoman from Dugave, Mirela Mikic Muha, claims that the stench is stronger because the procedure for covering the waste with soil is not being properly followed.

“Now it’s being driven from the early hours of the morning, as far as I know, from around 05:30, until late into the evening, 22:00, 23:00… I don’t know when they can cover it with earth and it stinks because they’re no longer adhering to the conditions that they had scheduled in the environmental permit,” claimed Mikic Muha.

Residents on the other side of the Sava river are also noticing that the stench is much stronger than it used to be, Most of them have already gotten used to it, but the question is how long this will actually go on for, because people throw away all sorts of things.

“It smells terrible, but it’s the worst in the morning,” said Mira.

One of the Jakusevec residents’ associations claim that everything isn’t being done according to regulations. The reason for the increased stench, they claim, lies in the fact that Cistoca disposes of bio-waste in a place where it isn’t allowed to do so. Even back in June, they filmed vehicles bringing the waste, and then reported everything to the environmental protection inspection. At this rate of waste delivery, the landfill will soon be full, they claim.

“I’m afraid that in three years, the people of Zagreb will be littering Ban Jelacic Square. I blame the state inspectorate, that is, the environmental protection inspection. They didn’t react to several of our reports as they should have,” said Ratko Bedekovic, president of the Jakusevec Environmental Protection Association. Accusations that the law is being violated and that bio-waste is getting dumped on the hill due to the undercapacity of the composting facility, are being vehemently rejected by the City of Zagreb.

“Only mixed municipal waste is disposed of at the Jakusevec landfill – so this isn’t true,” claimed Dinka Zivalj, spokeswoman for the mayor of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomasevic.

A statement from the City of Zagreb also said that 175,000 tonnes of mixed waste were disposed of last year, and the compost plant processed 35,000 tonnes of bio-waste. With this new Zagreb waste disposal model, these numbers will gradually decrease, which is also a condition for closing the landfill entirely.

“I expect that the amount of waste going to the Jakusevec site will decrease because people are separating their waste more and this is an important step in closing the landfill,” said spokeswoman Dinka Zivalj.

In order to close it completely, it is necessary to build facilities, among which is a sorting plant owned by the city, but as things stand, the mayor’s promise that everything will be done by the end of the mandate now seems almost impossible.

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