The main directions in the field of solid municipal waste disposal in the Moscow region: problems and prospects
Abstract: The subject of the study is the activity of public authorities of the Moscow region in the field of solid municipal waste management. The study was conducted in order to assess the existing problems and prospects for their solution in the field of solid municipal waste management. The research methods were: a questionnaire method (an online survey of residents of the Moscow region, N=80), an analysis of Internet sources and scientific works of domestic authors: to consider the features of the negative impact of closed landfills on the environment, to assess the impact of functioning incinerators on the environment, to assess the volume of annual waste growth on the territory of Moscow areas. According to the results of the study, a high level of dissatisfaction of the population with the activities of public authorities to improve the sphere of solid municipal waste management was revealed. The low level of awareness of the population on the issues of solid municipal waste management (more than 40% of respondents are not aware of the principles of garbage sorting) and the negative attitude of residents to the construction of incinerators in the region (more than 70% of respondents have a negative attitude to the construction of incinerators) were revealed. Conclusions have been formed about the need for the greatest development of the processing industry and the expansion of the range of measures in the field of public education on the management of solid municipal waste. Scope of application: the conducted research can be used by state authorities and local self-government bodies in the process of improving activities in the field of solid municipal waste management.
Keywords:solid municipal waste, ecology, waste sorting, public administration, sociological survey, population, reclamation, polygon, environment, negative impact
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The problem of burial, processing and disposal of municipal solid waste, along with the problems of excessive number of vehicles, irrational nature management, low level of environmental literacy of the population, is one of the global environmental problems of our time. Insufficient control by the authorities, inconsistency and untimeness of decisions taken, the use of outdated technologies around the world make the process of waste recycling and disposal more harmful than effective. The Moscow Region is no exception here: in 2016, the region occupied a leading position in Russia in terms of the volume of formation and disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) . This "achievement" is due to the fact that the Moscow region stores and disposes of not only its own waste, but also MSW coming from the capital and other regions. So, in total, residents of Moscow and the Moscow region annually produce more than 10 million tons of garbage, but only about 5% of these volumes are sent for recycling for subsequent use , the remainder is distributed to MSW recycling facilities, of which there are more than 400 in the region [11, p.32].
The accumulation of waste on the territory of the region in such volumes causes enormous harm to the environment: pollution of water bodies, impoverishment of soils and poisoning of wildlife, emissions of toxic substances into the atmospheric air. It should be noted that as a result of the protests in Volokolamsk, Lobnya, Shatura and other cities, the large landfills near Moscow "Yadrovo", "Lesnaya", "Khrabrovo" were closed. Currently, there are no functioning landfills on the territory of the Moscow region, however, unpleasant odors and fumes even from closed landfills spread by wind currents for several kilometers, creating unfavorable living conditions for the population.
Speaking about the unfavorable living conditions, we should also mention the plans of the Government of the Moscow Region to build four incinerators (MSZ) by 2023 at once to replace the existing landfills, which caused a negative reaction from both the population and environmentalists. Environmentalists note that even if the MSZ uses the most modern and efficient treatment plants as an emission purification, it will not be possible to completely reduce the volume of toxic emissions. At the same time, even such a low level of emissions is considered dangerous for humans, at which 1 cubic ha of clean air contains 1 cubic cm of dioxin . It is planned to put into operation the plants in Voskresensk and Naro—Fominsk in October 2021, and the remaining MSZ — in Bogorodsky and Solnechnogorsk districts — will begin operating in 2022 .
The prevailing negative trends in the field of MSW management make us think about which areas of development are given the most attention by public authorities to reduce the negative impact on the environment and to improve the quality of life of the local population.
In order to assess the existing problems and prospects for their solution in the field of solid municipal waste management, the authors conducted a theoretical analysis of documents and a survey of residents of the Moscow region (N=80).The subject of the study was the activity of public authorities of the Moscow region in the field of solid municipal waste management.
The main part.
Since 2018, the powers in the field of waste management in the Moscow region have been transferred from the Ministry of Ecology and Nature Management of the Moscow region to the Ministry of Housing and Communal Services of the Moscow region. Currently, the structure of the Ministry of Housing and Communal Services includes the Waste Management Department, which includes the following divisions:
1. department for the creation of waste management facilities;
2. department for work with investment and production programs in the field of solid municipal waste management;
3. department for the implementation of the territorial waste management scheme and work with regional operators for the management of solid municipal waste;
4. department of licensing of waste management activities.
One of the latest projects in the field of MSW management implemented by the Waste Management Department of the Ministry of Housing and Communal Services of the Moscow region is the online resource "Dvabaka.RF" , launched in 2020. The main objectives of the project are to educate the population on the issues of rational waste management, as well as to inform residents about the events being held and the results of the actions already carried out. Considering the importance of increasing the level of ecological culture among children and adolescents, the authors note the presence on the site of a special children's section with educational games and videos. In addition, since 2019, the Megabak project has been operating, which, unlike Dvabak.the Russian Federation", is aimed not at environmental education, but more at a practical result — "to increase the share of collection of secondary raw materials in the region and its further processing" . So, special containers for the delivery of bulky waste (household appliances, furniture, cut plants, car tires) are installed at the recycling collection points. Currently, there are 52 "Megabucks" in the region, which collected more than 44 thousand cubic meters of recyclable materials in 2021. According to the authors, both of these projects effectively complement each other, revealing theoretical aspects in the field of waste management and making it possible to implement the knowledge gained in practice.
As noted earlier, even closed landfills continue to have a negative impact on the environment and require increased attention from public authorities. For the first time, work on the restoration of the territories of closed landfills began in 2017 as part of the presidential program "Clean Country". Those landfills whose functioning was more concerned about citizens were also subjected to reclamation: in 2019, restoration work was completed at the Kuchino landfill, in 2020, by decision of the Ministry of Housing and Communal Services of the Moscow region, reclamation began ahead of schedule at the Yadrovo landfill. Table 1 shows the stages of restoration work sequentially.
The main stages of reclamation
In total, 28 landfills are planned to be recultivated in the Moscow Region by 2025 , while by 2028 it is considered possible to restore the territories of all closed landfills.
As part of the study, the authors conducted a sociological survey of residents of the Moscow region, the purpose of which was to identify the attitude of the population to the problem of solid municipal waste disposal. 80 people living in the Moscow region took part in the survey. The survey was conducted using the Google Forms service.
Fig. 1. The relevance of the problem of solid municipal waste disposal in the Moscow region, people.
In the course of the study, it was found that 95% of respondents to one degree or another consider the problem of solid municipal waste disposal in the Moscow region to be relevant at the present time. Only 5% expressed a tendency that the problem is rather irrelevant. At the same time, none of the respondents stated the complete absence of this problem (see Fig. 1)
Fig. 2. Satisfaction of residents with the activities of public authorities to improve the sphere of solid municipal waste management, people.
More than 70% of respondents to varying degrees are not satisfied with the activities of public authorities to improve the sphere of handling MSW in the Moscow region. At the same time, only 6% of respondents declared full satisfaction, another 22% replied that they were rather satisfied (see Fig. 2).
Taken together, the results in Figures 2 and 3 confirm the existence of negative trends in the field of MSW management in the Moscow region and indicate the need for additional measures by public authorities to improve this area.
Special attention was paid to the issues of separate garbage collection during the survey. So, 70% of respondents answered that they do not separate waste before throwing it away. Those who answered in the negative were asked an additional question about why exactly they do not share garbage. As the reasons , respondents noted: "lack of motivation/laziness" (20 people); "ignorance of waste sorting principles" (23 people), "lack of interest in the problem" (5 people). Another 8 people answered that the reason is the lack of efforts of an individual to change the situation for the better. Thus, more than 40% of respondents who do not participate in garbage sorting answered that they are not aware of the principles of garbage sorting, which indicates the insufficient effectiveness of the measures taken to inform and educate the population on the management of solid municipal waste.
The low level of public awareness is also indicated by the respondents' answers to the question about awareness of the activities implemented by public authorities in order to improve the sphere of solid municipal waste management (see Fig. 3).
Figure 3. Awareness of the population about the directions of activities to improve the sphere of handling MSW, people.
According to the results, 50% of respondents are not aware of the directions implemented by state bodies in order to improve the sphere of solid municipal waste management. Another 30% found it difficult to answer. Only 20% declared their awareness on this issue.
In continuation of the topic of separate garbage collection, respondents were asked about the equipment of containers for separate waste collection in the immediate vicinity of their place of residence.
Fig. 4. The presence of containers for separate garbage collection in the immediate vicinity of the place of residence, people.
More than half of the respondents answered that they do not have such containers in close proximity to their place of residence (see Figure 4). At the same time, the development of a container park is one of the directions for improving the sphere of MSW management in the Moscow region. So, in 2019, the authorities formed a two-stream waste separation system. It should be noted that the region was the first in Russia where this technology was introduced everywhere. The essence of this system is to modernize the container fleet for the collection of dry waste. So, blue tanks for "dry" waste and gray ones for "dirty" ones were put into operation (Fig. 5).
Fig. 5. Contents of modified garbage containers
Source: Territorial scheme of waste management, including solid municipal waste, Moscow region, URL: https://clck.ru/Y4sSR (accessed 07.10.2021)
Waste from the blue tank is transported by separate transport to the sorting station, and waste from the gray tank is subject to further neutralization and burial. It is noteworthy that the upgraded containers themselves consist of 10% recycled materials . According to the press service of the Ministry of Housing and Communal Services of the Moscow region in 2021, there are 151,783 containers in the Moscow region, of which 124,890 are gray, and 26,893 are blue. However, the results in Figure 3 indicate the need for a significant expansion of the container fleet in the Moscow region.
Also, as part of the survey, respondents were asked a question on such an urgent topic as the construction of four incinerators in the region (see Figure 6).
Fig.6. The attitude of residents of the Moscow region to the construction of incinerators, people.
According to the results, more than 70% of respondents have a negative attitude to the construction of incinerators, linking this with an additional burden on the environment and a negative impact on public health. Another 17% consider this idea as an opportunity to dispose of a large amount of waste. Less than 9% of respondents noted a neutral attitude on this issue. Residents' concerns about the safety of this method of waste disposal were also supported by the scientific community. So, to a greater extent, the gas purification system raises questions: "A primitive and cheap three—stage "dry" purification system with an emphasis on activated carbon will be used to purify the giant flow of gases, amounting to about 400 thousand cubic meters per hour," says Valery Sosnovtsev, associate professor of the Department of Experimental Nuclear Physics at MEPhI.— They believe that 22 kg of activated carbon per hour will clean harmful emissions, but in fact there is no cleaning — there is simply dilution with dirt" . According to the authors, it is also necessary to take into account that the garbage sorting system is currently not functioning properly, and the incineration of unsorted waste is even more harmful in the form of the formation of harmful gases and dioxins.
In conclusion of the main part, it is necessary to mention the experiment of the Government of the Moscow region, which consists in developing a special scheme for the disposal of medical waste. The experiment was launched in January 2021, and its duration is 15 years. The main task is "to form a centralized system of medical waste management, and with it a high—tech infrastructure that will help protect human health and the environment from the negative effects of hazardous medical waste, preserve the biological diversity of the nature of the Moscow region" . The experiment itself includes several stages, implying the consistent formation of a system of centralized management, first of all with medical waste from state medical and preventive institutions in the region, then with medical waste as a result of the activities of commercial medical institutions. Last of all, waste generated as a direct result of human activity will be covered. It should be noted that since 2021, by the Decree of the Chief State Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Federation, all medical waste has been equated to MSW .
According to the authors, the conduct of this experiment is most relevant at the present time, when humanity is faced with the COVID—19 pandemic, and there is a significant increase in the production and consumption of personal protective equipment. The situation is also aggravated by the lack of awareness of the population about how to properly dispose of medical waste and what importance it has for the preservation of the environment. Thus, the disposal of personal protective equipment has become a new threat to the environment: "The materials for the manufacture of medical masks are polymers (polyamide, polyester, polypropylene, etc.), the complete decomposition of which takes at least 500 years. Getting from garbage containers straight to landfills, these protective equipment cause serious harm to the environment" . In this regard, according to the authors, the elaboration of a new effective mechanism for working with medical waste should become a priority in the work of public authorities.
Consideration of the main problems and prospects in the field of solid municipal waste management showed that the authorities largely pay attention to topical issues in this area: separate waste collection, landfill closure and land restoration, environmental education of the population and the formation of a new system of medical waste management, however, a number of aspects still need to be worked out. Thus, the Government's decision to build four incinerators at once raises questions, which, of course, will negatively affect the state of the environment and the quality of life of the local population. The survey results also reflect the negative attitude of the population towards the construction of these facilities, which, of course, should be taken into account by public authorities. According to the authors, it would be more rational to develop the processing industry, which will help not only reduce emissions into the environment, but also save natural resources in subsequent production. As mentioned earlier, only up to 5% of MSW is sent for recycling in the Moscow region, which is extremely small, given that up to 50% of waste is sent for recycling in Swedish cities.
The results of the sociological research also revealed the need to expand the range of measures implemented by public authorities in the field of environmental education of the population. In particular, the authors recommend paying the greatest attention to improving the level of ecological culture of the younger generation. It is young people, due to their age and lack of experience, who may not fully realize the need for rational management of production and consumption waste. Despite the interactivity and informativeness of the existing Internet portal "Dvabaka.rf", this resource may not be enough. So, the authors propose to consider the foreign experience of increasing the level of ecological culture of the population. For example, in France, a system of "electronic assistants" was launched for those who are not aware in which container it is better to dispose of waste . According to the developers, a monitor should be installed next to the container, to which the packaging should be brought. The "electronic assistant" will scan the barcode on the package and determine which container is suitable for this type of garbage. This practice, due to the presence of a gaming component, can increase the interest of young people in the issues of separation and disposal of garbage.