Breaking: Romania’s Drive Towards Sustainable Waste Management: Progress and Challenges

Romania, in its quest to implement stringent waste management practices, has made significant strides by closing and rehabilitating 92 landfills, with plans to address five more by 2026-2028. Despite this progress, the fate of four other landfills remains shrouded in uncertainty. The nation has set lofty objectives to curtail the amount of municipal solid waste dispatched to landfills to less than 10% by 2035, aligning with a global shift towards sustainable waste management.

Striving for Compliance

The Environment, Water, and Forests Minister, Mircea Fechet, has underlined the necessity of closing or rehabilitating at least 31 hazardous and non-hazardous industrial waste sites to circumvent EU fines. This comes in response to a warning from the EU for Romania’s failure to fully comply with the Landfill and Waste Framework Directives, marking a crucial juncture in the country’s waste management narrative.

The Recycling Conundrum

Although progress has been made, Romania continues to grapple with recycling challenges, as recyclable materials often end up in landfills. The need for effective control over waste imports is another concern that Fechet highlighted, hinting at the intricate and multi-layered aspects of waste management that need to be addressed.

The Cost of Non-Compliance

Notably, the EU Court of Justice has slapped a fine of €1.5 million on Romania, along with daily penalties of €600, for delays in closing non-compliant waste dumps. This underscores the serious environmental and health hazards linked to these sites, pushing Romania to expedite its efforts. The Sofert Bacu site, which has been storing hazardous phosphogypsum waste since the communist era, exemplifies these challenges, incurring daily fines of €18,000.

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