BAR, 23 February 2017 – The works for closing the illegal waste dump of Ćafe near Bar, financed with EU support, were officially launched today. Once the rehabilitation of this site is completed, what is today an illegal landfill situated at the very seaside will become a viewpoint lay-by on the road that connects the coastal region of Montenegro.
By the end of 2017, the EU will invest €4.5 million to rehabilitate the site of Ćafe. “This funding is a sign of the EU's commitment to the protection of citizens' health and to the preservation of Montenegro's nature”, said André Lys, the Head of Cooperation Section at the EU Delegation to Montenegro, at the inaugural ceremony. He added that this sum poses a warning, too as “a clear indication of the cost that Montenegro will have to bear for each and every illegal dumpsite. And a clear sign that uncontrolled dumping has to stop to prevent such costs from increasing further”.
As Lys explained, the EU has clear rules on how to treat waste, protect human health and the environment from the negative effects caused by the collection and treatment of waste. “Under EU law, only safe and controlled landfill activities can be carried out, and it is prohibited to abandon or dump waste in an uncontrollable way”, reminded Lys, adding that the European Commission can take Member States to court for illegal landfills such as this one. “Montenegro will be submitted to the same rules, and this is why we want to help you close such uncontrolled dumpsites”, concluded Lys.
He also stated that EU’s priority is first to prevent the generation of waste, and, second to re-use, recycle or recover waste as much as possible, while disposing waste in landfills is the very last option. Currently, only 36% of about 2.5 billion tons of waste per year is being recycled in the EU, but the new target proposed by the EU is to recycle 75% and to limit landfilling to 10% of municipal waste by the year 2030.
As Lys stated, Montenegro is well away from EU targets, and reaching them is a collective responsibility, involving public authorities, the public utility companies, and each citizen, who should maintain Montenegro as if it was his or her own garden.
Besides the representative of the EU Delegation, other speakers at the ceremony included the Director General for Waste Management and Utility Development at the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Dragan Asanović, acting Director General for Coordination of EU Assistance in the Ministry of European Affairs, Ivana Glišević Đurović and the Mayor of Bar, Zoran Srzentić.