President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy took part in a meeting of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, during which the issue of reforming the waste management system and providing the population with drinking water was considered.
The President noted that the issue of waste management is extremely important, as in Ukraine only 4% of solid waste is sorted as landfills and illegal dumps are overfilled.
"I would like to talk to you today, to hear about the state of implementation of reform in this area," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
Head of the Office of the President Andriy Yermak reminded that the bill on waste management has been under discussion for over a year, and the need to unify the rules with the European Union has long been ripe.
Deputy Head of the Office of the President Iuliia Svyrydenko noted that last year 462 million tons of waste were generated in Ukraine, and 10 million tons of solid household waste is accumulated annually. According to her, there are 33,000 unauthorized landfills in Ukraine.
Iuliia Svyrydenko also said that the draft law on waste management should introduce rules and start the development of sectoral documents, in particular on batteries and accumulators, waste from the extractive industry, etc.
This bill introduces a new term "waste management hierarchy". It sounds complicated, but in fact it is a guide for every Ukrainian on what to do with waste. First of all, to prevent its formation, to ensure its processing and to allow waste burial only in exceptional cases. The second aspect is to establish the principle that the polluter pays. The costs of waste management should be borne by its original generator. This bill establishes an extended responsibility of the manufacturer who will ensure the full disposal of packaging released on the market with the commodity," said the Deputy Head of the Office of the President.
According to her, the draft law on waste management is aimed at creating conditions for the construction of modern waste processing infrastructure. Negotiations are currently underway with the Scandinavian countries, which are at the forefront of building modern recycling plants. At the same time, investors should receive market tariffs and transparent cooperation with local authorities.
Andriy Yermak, for his part, noted that the payback period for the construction of waste processing plants exceeds 10 years, so there should be a guarantee for the investor that waste will be supplied to this plant, not to the landfills of someone's "friends or partners".
Iuliia Svyrydenko reminded that at the meeting of the National Security and Defense Council it was decided that all local communities should create regional waste management plans by the end of the year.
In addition, the participants of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities under the President considered the state of providing the population with drinking water.
"There are two questions. How is the relevant state program being implemented? Why don’t some regions have their own drinking water, why do some regions import drinking water from other regions?” the President of Ukraine noted.
The Head of the Office of the President stressed the need to adopt a national program "Drinking Water of Ukraine" for 2022-2026, as the health of Ukrainians is a priority for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his team.
Minister for Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine Oleksiy Chernyshov noted that currently only 69% of the population of Ukraine has access to centralized drinking water supply systems and 48% - to centralized sewerage. He said that his ministry had developed and submitted to the Verkhovna Rada a draft law on a program to provide the population with quality drinking water. In the framework of this program, it is planned to implement more than 1,700 infrastructure projects in the regions of Ukraine, including the construction of new and reconstruction of existing water supply and sewerage facilities.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reminded of the city of Mariupol, which has problems with drinking water due to the temporary occupation of part of the Donetsk region.
"There are enough problems with drinking water throughout our country. Therefore, I think that we must prepare the changes to the budget and implement them quickly," the President said.
The participants of the meeting of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities supported the proposal to consider the possibility of including in the list of objects of the Large Construction program for 2022 the creation of new treatment facilities for the Odesa region. The relevant committee of the Verkhovna Rada should consider the revised draft law on the Drinking Water of Ukraine program and submit it for approval immediately.
At the end of the meeting, the participants considered the formation of a system of training of personnel for local government bodies.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that the level of knowledge and skills of local managers directly affects the level of community development and well-being of local residents.
The Head of State also noted that in 2022 local budgets will receive an additional 4% through the distribution of personal income tax (PIT), and communities will have an additional resource - more than UAH 11 billion.
"This clearly demonstrates the fact that decentralization is taking place in Ukraine," the President stressed.