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Municipal solid waste characterization and quantification as a measure towards effective waste management in Albania

Author: 
Ornela Ҫuçi, Anila Kala, Adem Meta, Seit Shallari and Fatbardh Sallaku
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

The Prior to 1990, there was hardly any problem of solid waste management in Albania. The solid waste was locally managed in all the urban areas of Albania. Almost all the wastes was organic in nature and was used as manure. Traditionally, only a special caste was involved in waste management activities. In the past, these people collected the waste from settlements using primitive tools such as buffalo ribs to lift the waste and shoulder baskets to carry the wastes. The wastes collected were dumped on nearby river banks or in open fields. In those days, the flow of water in nearby rivers was capable in degrading the dumped organic wastes which were small in quantity. But these traditional practices could not continue due to the increasing population densities in urban areas. Increase in population density has lead to the increase in the volume of waste. This has created a massive threat to public health due to the lack of proper solid waste management. One of the key goals of the Albanian Government is to ensure sustainable provision of water and wastewater services, adapted to the needs of the population and industry, and approximation to the standards of the European Union. Albania is making progress towards accession to the EU, an important part of which is harmonizing environmental legislation with EU Acquis Communautaire. A number of important laws, strategies and plans are adopted or in draft, and these form the framework for environmental improvement in all sectors to be implemented over the next few years. While operationally sludge is an issue for the wastewater sector, from a legal perspective it is a component of the waste sector, which is still in development. To facilitate the development of sludge regulations, this study has prepared an outline of the standards that are considered appropriate for the conditions in Albania and which will harmonize with the EC Directive on sludge use in agriculture (86/278/EEC). There are a number of potential options for using sludge in land reclamation in Albania: abandoned mining sites (control of soil erosion and heavy metal pollution, undertaken by the local forestry offices); quarries (restoration is a legal obligation of owners); waste dump sites (to be restored when regional landfills are available); progressive restoration of the planned regional landfills; and possibly in land development (golf courses, etc. as tourism develops). Such sites could potentially use large quantities of sludge but the opportunities are few and periodic and currently there are no confirmed projects. The overall objective of the current study is to elaborate sludge management strategies for Albania. Since this is the first comprehensive strategic evaluation of sludge management options undertaken in Albania, the study inevitably raises issues of national importance.

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