Kick-Off Workshop Dec 5-7, 2018

Overview

 

The Acopian Center for the Environment of the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted a kick-off workshop on December 5-7 for the Swedish-Armenian SDG Expert Exchange Program. The participants of the workshop included government policy developers and decision makers. The overriding goals of this three-day Kick-Off Workshop on Waste Governance Policy and Strategy in Armenia were to:

  • better understand and assess the existing situation with waste management in Armenia
  • introduce key directions of solid waste policy development
  • identify the key challenges to making advances on these directions
  • form the basis of a roadmap for the project

Download the full Agenda in pdf

 

Opening remarks

 

Randall Rhodes Provost, American University of Armenia

Arsen Gasparyan Senior Adviser to the Acting Prime Minister of Armenia

Martin Fredriksson Chargé d’affaires, Swedish Embassy in Armenia

Therese Rosenblad Project Manager, LIFE Academy, Sweden

 

Presentations

 

Workshop introduction


Eva Svensson Myrin Co-owner and Consultant at Miljö & Avfallsbyrån, Sweden

Waste management in a broader context of global and local challenges and opportunities. Expectations of the workshop.

Ms. Myrin presented the company she and Ms. Lindblom represent, the work they do, their cooperation with the municipalities in Sweden, the areas of their work including environmental impact assessment, procurements, etc.

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Where is Armenia today?


Alen Amirkhanian Director at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment

Presentation 1: Key directions of solid waste policy development

Mr. Amirkhanian spoke about transition from linear to circular economies, about waste management models (excluding mining and radioactive waste), situation in Armenia, where a sanitary landfill is planned to be constructed, which is part of a linear economy, thus not a suitable model for an economy that strives to become circular.

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Presentation 2: Institutional Map of Armenia’s Waste Management

Mr. Amirkhanian presented the steps leading to sustainable waste management in which the implementers of this project, i.e. AUA Acopian center, Life Academy and the experts from Milav will concentrate on policy and legal framework. Mr. Amirkhanian also presented current programs the government is implementing with the financing of international financial institutions. He also talked about other stakeholders that are related to waste management in Armenia.

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Narine Avetyan Head of the Department of Territorial Investment Policy and Infrastructure Development at the Ministry of Territorial Administration

Major waste management activities at the national level

Ms. Avetyan presented the situation with waste management in Armenia, the system of waste collection, the operators and responsible bodies in Yerevan and outside. Ms. Avetyan also spoke about steps taken by the state bodies aimed at improving the field on legislative and other levels, including covering bigger areas for waste collection, in order waste wasn’t dumped in inappropriate locations and burned, reducing the illegal waste dumps, setting up minimal rate for waste collection from households, etc.

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Arthur Grigoryan Head of Inspectorate for Nature Protection and Mineral Resources

Waste related issues of the Inspectorate for Nature Protection and Mineral Resources

Mr. Grigoryan presented the work the inspectorate does, such as inspecting the amount of industrial waste that companies produce and if it is within the permitted limits, if the environmental taxes were paid, legal obstacles the inspectorate faces, etc. He also expressed hopes that although mining wastes are not within the frames of this conference and project, yet, since Ms. Myrin mentioned that they also work with river cleanup projects, one day they will also contribute in this field taking into consideration the pollution levels of rivers in Armenia.

 


Artak Khachatryan Head of Division of Waste Inventory, Classification and Technology Investigation at Environmental Monitoring and Information Center SNCO, Ministry of Nature Protection

Hazardous and agricultural waste overview

Mr. Khachatryan explained the meaning of wastes, Armenia’s legislation regulating wastes, international agreements Armenia has joined regarding its waste management, such as Basel, Stockholm, Rotterdam and Minamata conventions. He also presented in detail about persistent organic pollutants, how they reach the environment and impact health. Mr. Khachatryan also spoke about Armenia’s 1500 tonnes of toxic waste buried in Nubarashen and the policy of the state regarding its elimination. He presented a small waste sorting facility established in Ararat within the frames of one of their projects. Mr. Khachatryan also mentioned that they monitor municipality wastes and morphology, and therefore he expressed readiness to get involved in working groups that are being formed to establish the quality and quantity of waste for framing the waste strategy in Armenia.

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Irina Ghaplanyan First Deputy Minister of Nature Protection Ministry

Waste activities at the Nature Protection Ministry

Ms. Ghaplanyan presented global steps against plastic to which Armenia is also aiming to join. As a starting point they have initiated drafting a legislation, but prior to it there will be a research regarding types and amount of plastic use in Armenia in order to specify the types of plastic in need of regulation by law. Further research will also help to understand what the alternatives to plastic are. After these researches a draft will be presented to regulate plastics. Also Talin community was selected for starting the Ministry’s plastic free program. Ms. Ghaplanyan also spoke about the Ministry’s cooperation with the UNDP for initiating social advertisements against plastic.


Gayane Gharagebakyan UNDP/GEF Project Coordinator

Elimination of Obsolete Pesticides and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) at Nubarashen toxic waste cemetery

Ms. Gharagebakyan presented the three phases of the project aimed at eliminating the toxic pollutants at Nubarashen toxic waste cemetery – digging out the toxic wastes, packaging and temporary conservation and later exporting the toxic waste (to another country) where it will be eliminated (there are no facilities in Armenia to do so). Third phase of the project also includes safe management of such wastes in Armenia, legislative measures necessary to be taken, etc.

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Knarik Grigoryan Environmental Health Expert at Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment

AWHHE projects on hazardous waste

Ms. Grigoryan presented the monitoring and research activities their organization implemented in the past years in different regions of Armenia, especially in the area of pesticides. She also talked about awareness raising projects they carried out regarding obsolete and banned pesticides. Ms. Grigoryan’s organization also carried out laboratory researches with their international colleagues aimed at finding the impact of POPs on humans’ health.

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Armine Tukhikyan Program Director at Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development

Plastic waste recycling projects

Ms. Tukhikyan talked about their organization’s cooperation with local authorities in different communities in Armenia, this way aiming to solve local issues with the involvement of these communities. She presented their project of sorting plastic bottles in Alaverdi community back in 2008, highlighting that with this project their organization was the first one to initiate waste sorting in Armenia. Later on this project continued in other communities as well, involving some 20-30 communities. Awareness raising and training, as well as providing necessary infrastructure were among the components of this project. Ms. Tukhikyan also spoke about one of their current projects through which they plan to produce construction materials from plastic waste. She also raised the issue regarding plastic sorting, which as Ms. Tukhikyan mentioned, should be sorted at the source, since this is also an important educational process.

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Michael Aloyan American Waste Industries (merged with Athens Services)

Biomass reduction and bioremediation processes/products

Mr. Aloyan presented his company’s project, with which they had cleaned up one of the dumps in Armenia in one month. The technology they had used is based on enzyme ferment with which, as Mr. Aloyan mentioned, dangerous bacteria and organic material is destroyed and the liquid that comes out can be used in agriculture as fertilizer, while the remaining material will be fit for recycling. As a result they have offered the government to use this method elsewhere.


Lusine Nalbandyan Executive director, agro-ecologist at ORWACO CJSC

Environmental closed loop: from organic waste to organic fertilizers

Ms. Nalbandyan spoke about their company’s activity of giving second life to organic waste starting from 2011. She presented the cycle of producing bio-humus with which others grow grapes for wine production. For producing bio-humus, they use manure, remnants of wine production, such as peel and stone, coffee residue. Ms. Nalbandyan also spoke about some of the challenges such as lack of infrastructure in Armenia, which makes it difficult to make the availability of plenty of existing organic waste for further recycling.

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Davit Karamyan Deputy director at Am-Eska

Tire processing to get diesel, carbon briquettes, and metal scrap

Mr. Karamyan presented their company established in 2014 which recycles old tires, oils, filters, etc. As of now their company recycled 4.5 million kg tires and 500 tonnes of other waste. They use pyrolysis method and the material they get is pyrolysisfuel, 1 litre of which is equal to 1.88 m3natural gas, which is used for industrial ovens for combustion (cement, asphalt factories, etc.). Some of the sources for their materials are mining companies in Armenia as well as Coca-Cola, Zeppelin Armenia etc. Among other suggestions Mr. Karamyan highlighted the importance of creating waste and landfill data so that recycling companies have the information where to get their materials.

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Hovhannes Ghazaryan Executive Director at My Step Foundation

Plastic-free Armenia

Mr. Ghazaryan presented their foundation’s campaign aimed at changing public attitude towards plastic bags. This is a work in progress and the foundation is in negotiations for example with supermarket chains, in order to implement encouragement mechanisms for consumers. For this purpose they plan to study consumers’ attitude towards reusable bags with the help of barcodes on these bags. Additionally, the frequent use of these reusable bags with barcodes will earn the consumers bonuses which they can use accordingly. This way the foundation hopes to increase the usage of reusable bags and impact consumers’ attitudes.

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Sofia Manukyan Researcher, representative of civil society

Waste management development in Armenia: 5 year overview

Ms. Manukyan spoke about the new landfill project that will be constructed in Yerevan with loans and grants from European banks and institutions, which however lacks sustainable components, i.e. no waste sorting and recycling is envisioned in it. Ms. Manukyan presented the criticism of the civil society regarding the unsustainable and short term character of this project, as well as the unjust approach of the European institutions which despite creating zero waste and landfill reduction policies in their countries, support such unsustainable projects elsewhere. Ms. Manukyan expressed hopes that Armenia will eventually have centralized waste sorting and recycling.

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Speakers list

 

Eva Svensson Myrin Co-owner and Consultant at Miljö & Avfallsbyrån, Sweden

Sandra Lindblom Environmental Consultant at Miljö & Avfallsbyrån, Sweden

Alen Amirkhanian Director at the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment

Narine Avetyan Head of the Department of Territorial Investment Policy and Infrastructure Development at the Ministry of Territorial Administration

Arthur Grigoryan Head of Inspectorate for Nature Protection and Mineral Resources

Artak Khachatryan Head of Division of Waste Inventory, Classification and Technology Investigation at Environmental Monitoring and Information Center SNCO, Ministry of Nature Protection

Irina Ghaplanyan First Deputy Minister of Nature Protection Ministry

Gayane Gharagebakyan UNDP/GEF Project Coordinator

Knarik Grigoryan Environmental Health Expert at Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment

Armine Tukhikyan Program Director at Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development

Michael Aloyan American Waste Industries (merged with Athens Services)

Lusine Nalbandyan Executive director, agro-ecologist at ORWACO CJSC

Davit Karamyan Deputy director at Am-Eska

Hovhannes Ghazaryan Executive Director at My Step Foundation

Sofia Manukyan Researcher, representative of civil society