Anahit Bakhshyan believes the waste management in Yerevan requires a well-established approach and practical solutions. “So far there have been only local solutions, with no systemic approach. Let’s take Noubarashen where there are piles of waste on the drain and, as a result, the whole area is permanently saturated with water. And it is not the only case,” Bakhshyan said and added apart from government bodies and agencies, all sectors must be engaged.
“Citizens should have their contribution as well, for example, they should not pollute the city. People often throw trash on the street though there is a trash can.” Bakhshyan called on all locals to join the Armenia Tree Project in cleaning Hrazdan Gorge with on April 18.
Media Center hosted a discussion on the waste management in Yerevan. The discussion featured the local and international practice. The panelists included: Inga Zarafyan, Head of EcoLur NGO; Anahit Bakhshyan, Head of the Barev Yerevan faction, Yerevan Council; Irina Ghaplanyan, Cofounder at the Green Bean; Alen Amirkhanyan, Director of the Acopian Center for the Environment at AUA; Aramazd Kalajyan, art expert; and Lussineh Kassarjian, Country Director at Armenia Tree Project.
“We are here to propose non-standard solutions to the issue,” Lussineh Kassarjian said. Presently, in Armenia there is waste removal, namely waste collection whereas the Armenia Tree Project suggests adopting a more efficient model of waste management. “We suggest other solutions which embrace recycling and reuse of waste. Unfortunately, Armenia currently has only one model and it is waste collection,” Kassarjian said.
Irina Ghaplanyan prioritized the involvement of the private sector in managing waste. “Public awareness is what matters now. People should be told what consequences waste collection may have. The public awareness campaign should include a series of social ads. In developed countries, along with NGOs, business sector also participates in shaping the policy to achieve sustainability,” Ghaplanyan said.
People in Armenia do not produce waste over the average but the field needs new management and sorting policies, Alen Amirkhanyan commented. “We have often come across people burning trash on the street which may cause health problems.”
Inga Zarafyan focused on the lack of a management policy and recalled the Noubarashen dump which releases toxic emissions, including dioxins. “Now we have a lake of plastic waste. Years ago a crew of French-Armenian researchers studied the lake floor and discovered a large quantity of plastic bottles. The lake floor has been blocked and fish and crayfish cannot live there, which is a big blow to the ecosystem of the lake,” Zarafyan said, adding nowadays even rural areas are littered with plastics.
The speakers urged citizens, civil society and private sector representatives to actively take part in addressing the waste management issue in Armenia.
Arshaluys Mghdesyan, Editor-Coordinator
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