Bulgarian MPs Finally Seal Waste Management ActEnvironment | June 28, 2012, Thursday // 14:55| views
Bulgaria's capital Sofia has been battling garbage problems for years on end. Photo by BGNES
The Waste Management Act was finally passed at second reading by the Bulgarian Parliament Thursday, after nearly year-long debates.
The delay led to many changes from the initial version of the Bill, proposed by the Ministry of Environment and Waters, the Bulgarian Dnevnik daily reminds.
Under the new legislation, merchants dealing with metal scrap are mandated to apply for new work permits within 6 months after the Act is published in the State Gazette.
The new rules for facilities for metal scrap became precisely the hurdle in passing the law because they generated discontent and protests of several companies from the sector. The Constitutional Court annulled the most debated amendment, which postulated that such facilities must be located only at places designated by the common urban plan. Only one third of Bulgarian municipalities, however, have such plan, meaning a large number of facilities had to be closed. The Court ruled to keep the current requirement that metal scrap sites can be opened under the detailed urban plan.
According to the new Act, private scrap yards now must have a bank warranty of at least BGN 25 000, a non-stop security cameras whose tapes must be kept for one year, while all payments must be made through bank transactions and not in cash. All are expected to significantly reduce metal theft in the country.
Municipalities are mandated to have their own scrap sites to become the only place where citizen can dispose of metal waste such as old appliances and vehicles. The services are to be free of charge.
Municipalities are also required to recycle construction and bio waste. Those with population of over 1 000 people will have to recycle at least 50% of their household waste, meaning by 2020, Bulgaria would reduce in half the waste that needs to be sent to landfills.
The prolonged debates became grounds for the European Commission to refer Bulgaria to the European Court in Luxembourg over the fact the country failed to introduce a frame European directive for waste management in its legislation.
The European Directive rules are now included in the texts of the new Act, and have nothing to do with scrap trade, but rather regulate the obligations of municipalities and the State for waste recycling.
According to the Ministry of Environment and Waters, after the draft Bill is now a law, the case in Luxembourg will be dismissed.
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