The European Business Association has called on the government to take urgent measures to restore the work of companies in the field of hazardous waste management.
As of January 9, any activity in this area is illegal in Ukraine, the EBA reports.
The EBA explained that Law No. 2320-IX "On Waste Management" (effective from July 9, 2023) provides for the mandatory obtainment of a new type of license within 6 months after its entry into force. And the Law "On Licensing" gives companies at least 2 months to bring their activities in line with the new conditions.
It is noted that the relevant resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers and the order of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources were approved and entered into force in mid-December 2023. These documents are necessary to launch the procedure for obtaining new licenses.
"Thus, enterprises in the field of hazardous waste management actually had 16 working days to obtain a new license, instead of the 2 months guaranteed by law. From January 9, 2024, in Ukraine, any activity in the field of hazardous waste management is illegal," the message emphasized.
The EBA added that since May 2023, they have been warning the government and the Ministry of Environment about the impending problem. The Association's experts also addressed the Cabinet of Ministers, the Office of the President, and the State Regulatory Service. Thus, the DRS appealed to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal, to amend the Cabinet of Ministers' resolution "Some issues of ensuring the conduct of economic activity under martial law" to grant the right to business entities to receive licenses on a declarative basis.
"For a week now, not a single company in Ukraine has a license to carry out operations in the field of hazardous waste management. And this has its consequences," said the coordinator of the industrial ecology and sustainable development committee of the European Business Association, Olga Boyko.
Among the consequences, she named:
- impossibility for enterprises and institutions that generate hazardous waste to transfer it to specialized contractors;
- stopping the work of public initiatives for the population for the safe management of such waste from households, which are mainly financed with the funds of international donors;
- the threat of disruption of the removal and disposal of hazardous waste for territorial communities that have concluded contracts with enterprises whose licenses have now expired.
"This situation is a dangerous precedent, which says that any investment activity in Ukraine can be stopped due to/because of the inaction of the authorized body. Is this the message we want to convey to international partners and investors in the waste management industry, the financing of which was included, for example, in the Ukraine Facility plan?" she said, adding that such an approach completely contradicts Ukraine's European integration obligations.
It is noted that according to the data of the Arena-2 project, in 2022, about 498 thousand tons of hazardous waste were generated in Ukraine, which is approximately 12.2 kg for each Ukrainian.
Earlier, EcoPolitic wrote, that in December, the Association of Environmental Professionals (PAEW) called on the authorities to avoid a collapse in the hazardous waste market, which will happen as early as the beginning of 2024 due to the impossibility of issuing licenses.
As EcoPolitic previously reported, in December the president of the Association of Environmental Professionals (PAEW) Lyudmila Tsyganok said that from January 2024, all 367 enterprises that have licenses for the management of hazardous waste will with a high probability find themselves outside the legal field due to the legal uncertainty.