Five million euros for a new incinerator in “Drisla”

The landfill “Drisla” will get a new furnace for burning waste in three months, which will reduce the air pollution in Skopje.

The city of Skopje gave a loan of 4.5m euros for the purchase of a new incinerator, which at a temperature of over 1,600 degrees Celsius will destroy medical, chemical and organic waste, the Independent newspaper learns. The current furnace, which Skopje received as a gift from the UK and which is mentioned as one of the culprits for the high level of air pollution, will no longer be used, and by that time, a water filter will have to be installed, which should be keep the smoke from the burned waste in the chimney.

These are part of the measures of the City of Skopje and the Ministry of Environment, which should take down the Macedonian metropolis from the top of the most polluted cities in the world.

However, they emphasize that the landfill “Drisla” is not the largest polluter, and it is reportedly not even factories from whose chimneys rise black and dark clouds of smoke.

“All factories that have an A-environmental permit have built-in filters on the chimneys, but they are not the only ones. Here, for instance, these days, one of the undertaken measures was excluded were the chimneys of Drisla, Makstil and the cement factory USJE, which are constantly mentioned as the biggest polluters. Most of the companies had prolonged holidays, students and students were out of school, there was practically no traffic, the weather was relatively warm during this time of the year, and Skopje, however, was the first, second or third most polluted city in the world. Our analyses show that 53 percent of the air pollution comes from households, which do not choose what and how they will use to warm their homes. Even rubber boots are used, but what can we do?
There is a logical explanation why Lisice is constantly the most polluted … This is because it is at a lower level than Gjorce Petrov, so everything flows down there, “the city authorities say.

Hence they briefed that the new furnace did not receive a building permit for installation from 2014 to 2016, while the old government ruled. In October last year, with the arrival of the new city administration, a permit was issued and at the moment it is working on placing pillars, roofs…

“This incinerator that we currently have, is an oven compared to the one we are going to have. It should be here by April 15, and there will be a 45-day deadline for installation and will start working in June, “our sources inform. The new incinerator, which is of German production, will store up to 95 percent of the harmful substances in the chimney. The city clarifies that at present there is only one furnace in “Drisla”, and not a few, as the public is speculating extensively. The furnace taken in 2000 was not bad, it met the legal norms adopted the same year, but after 18 years it is logical that things have changed, the technology itself has gone ahead…

“There were various doubts about what kind of waste is burning, which, among other things, was banning the import of medical waste. From 2013 to 2017 no import of such waste from abroad has been recorded. In September of 2016, a request was received from Drisla for import, but they were rejected because they did not meet the technological standards, “informs the Ministry of Environment.

From the City they explain that at present there is only one furnace in “Drisla”, and not a few, as is widely speculated in the public. The furnace taken in 2000 was not bad, it met the legal norms adopted the same year, but after 18 years it is logical that things have changed, the technology itself has gone forward… The “Drisla” landfill is the only one in Macedonia that has a permit for incineration of medical waste and because of that, it stores and destroys waste from all over the country. Attempts are being made to change the legal legislation and treat waste in the medical facilities themselves. In Macedonia there are 66 illegal landfills, which will result in regional landfills, but this will also increase the communal services, so local authorities manipulate.

In the end, according to sources from the City of Skopje, 12,000 vehicles from the east enter the city per day, or 18,000 vehicles from the west. 40,000 cars pass through the center every day, which also have their share in the pollution. It is envisaged construction of two huge parking lots in Gjorce Petrov and Gazi Baba, where the citizens from the interior will leave their vehicles, and then they will be sent to the center of Skopje by buses. When the foreseen measures are met, it is difficult to predict, but the authorities expect the problem of pollution to be resolved gradually. Until then, Skopje remains on the pedestal of the most polluted cities in the world.

Obscure ownership structure in “Drisla”

The Drisla Landfill is a public-private partnership between the City of Skopje and the Italian company FCL “Ambiente” with a contract concluded in 2011. Since then, the court battle that involves the auction is the second-placed firm from Germany, which, according to sources from the City of Skopje, according to the latest court decision, is the winner of the announcement. The procedure is not ready, now the City of Skopje has complained, from where the Higher Administrative Court expects the decision to declare the entire tender invalid, and “Drisla” returns to the ownership of the city. The deal itself is unusual. The city owns 20 percent with a capital of 2.5 million euros, while the Italians own 80 percent with an investment of 10,000 euros. The city has no power over the daily management of the landfill, there is only one member in the Board of Directors. The Italians have not invested in anything they have promised, just some technical details. I expect them to appeal the court’s decision, but that does not make us friends with them. We want the court to make a decision as soon as possible, because the air we breathe is killing us all. If ‘Drisla’ is returned to us, we will work on the construction of a waste factory ‘, informed the City of Skopje.

Goran Adamovski