The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD) has provided a €3.5 million fifteen year loan to the Republic of Armenia for the construction of the first EU compliant regional landfill and relevant infrastructure in the country.
The landfill will be located in Hrazdan, capital of Armenia’s Kotayk Province, and will be used by eight municipalities in the nearby region - Hrazdan, Abovyan, Charentsavan, Yeghvard, Nor Hajin, Tzaghadzor, Byureghavan and Sevan (Gegharkunik Province).
The solid waste management project will also include the acquisition of vehicles, bins and equipment for waste management.
In addition, the European Union Neighbourhood Investment Facility (“NIF”) has approved a grant in the amount of €3.5 million to provide co-financing for the Project.
The entire project cost is €8.07 million, including post signing technical cooperation.
The loan agreements were signed last December in Yerevan by the Minister of Finance of Armenia, the participating Municipalities, and the EBRD.
When asked by Rule of Law parliamentary faction head Heghineh Bisharyan why Kotayk Province and Sevan were picked for the project, Vache Terteryan, Deputy Minister for Territorial Administration and Emergency Affairs, stated that an ERBD survey team had traveled through Armenia in 2009-2010 and selected Kotayk due to its high population concentration.
The town of Sevan was included, according to Terteryan, due to the large amounts of garbage accumulated in the resort town during the tourist season.
The official noted that the landfill would have the resources so that another sixty rural communities could join the project.
Bisharyan also raised the issue of Armenia’s open landfills, noting that in the 21st century such an approach to waste management was unacceptable.
“As far as I know there were lengthy discussions regarding the restructuring of the open landfills like Nubarashen by the Japanese into recycling centers. Since recycling is such a profitable venture, I’m surprised that no one in Armenia has gotten into the business,” Bisharyan said.
Terteryan agreed that open landfills presented a huge problem, adding that the ERBD project would combine the current eight landfills (7 in Kotayk Province and the one in Sevan) into one modern facility.
The deputy minister stressed that a large investment in technology was needed to launch recycling in Armenia and that in order to be profitable there must be a sizeable amount of garbage to work with.