Although almost 6 years have already passed since the start of the first investment for the construction of three incinerators and almost 90 million Euro have been spent, Albanian cities keep suffering from waste. Tirana and Elbasan incinerators are not operational, while Fier Municipality states that it deposits waste to the incinerator. State Supreme Audit stated for Faktoje that Fier incinerator has not observed strategy for the waste management and Fier Municipality has been almost uninvolved throughout the process starting from the decision on incinerator construction until its commissioning.

On 16/02/2022, Prime Minister Rama, replying to one of his followers on “Facebook”, described the incinerators construction as a work saving three large communities from the waste nightmare.

ough almost 6 years have already passed since the start of the first investment for the construction of three incinerators and almost 90 million Euro have been spent, Albanian cities keep suffering from waste. Tirana and Elbasan incinerators are not operational, while Fier Municipality states that it deposits waste to the incinerator. State Supreme Audit stated for Faktoje that Fier incinerator has not observed strategy for the waste management and Fier Municipality has been almost uninvolved throughout the process starting from the decision on incinerator construction until its commissioning.

On 16/02/2022, Prime Minister Rama, replying to one of his followers on “Facebook”, described the incinerators construction as a work saving three large communities from the waste nightmare.

Ilir Mustafaraj

Do you feel responsible Mr. Prime Minister for the incinerator affair?

Edi Rama

@IlirMustafaraj for what “incinerator affair” are you talking about as I’m not aware of such incinerator affair, but I know a good job that has saved three large communities from waste nightmare in Tirana, Elbasan and Fier! If in this good job there were individuals, who behind the back of the government, abused their power to benefit illegally – this is to be proved by the investigation and trial of justice, not political propaganda or media mud! However, this does not change the fact of the works being built, of being there and at the service of communities, public health and environment.

*Reply of Prime Minister Rama

Although the government has concluded three agreements for incinerator’s construction in Tirana, Elbasan and Fier, however only the latter is operational. We are all witnesses of how several cities got swept away by waste last summer by putting municipalities under extreme difficulties. A year later Faktoje asked the Ministry of Environment and Tourism if there is a waste management plan drafted by municipalities. In its response, the Ministry bearing the main responsibility for investments made in three incinerators, but also for the National Environmental Strategy implementation states that waste management must be carried out by municipalities in accordance with the law. Are these municipalities able to enforce the law?

4) Has the waste matter of municipalities covered by respective incinerators completely disappeared?

–       Pursuant to legal obligations in force, specifically Law no. 10463, dated 22.09.2011 “On integrated waste management” and bylaws deriving from the above law, all municipalities shall be obliged to fulfil the legal obligations on prevention, reuse, recycling, incineration and controlled sanitary disposal.

*Response of the Ministry of Tourism for Faktoje.al 17/05/2022

Faktoje has requested information in the three municipalities where the strategic investment of incinerators has been made. Since 2016 until now, the state budget has been paying 30 million Euro in Fier Municipality for incinerator construction. During this year, there will be paid another 5 million Euro. However, Mayor of Fier Municipality, Mr. Subashi stated a year ago for Faktoje that this large investment was not preceded by construction of right infrastructure on waste collection  before being delivered to incinerators. The response of such Municipality sent to Faktoje stated that Fier Municipality deposits 60 to 65 tons of waste to the incinerator every day. However, there is no answer regarding xxx

State Supreme Audit state, stated in the report of Fier Municipality that waste treatment is not carried out according to the European Union Directives and is not even pursuant to the Waste Management Strategy. While this case is under investigation by justice structures, Fier Municipality states the fact of keeping to deposit 60 to 65 tons of waste/day to the incinerator.

This Municipality does not explain if the incinerator is in operation, how many employees are there, whether the works are under progress or the other municipalities that are depositing waste.

 

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

Name

Last name:

Mrs. Inva

Hasanaliaj

Postal address: Rr. “Nasi Pavllo”, Pall. “Edil-Al”, shk. 3, Floor 3, A-8, Tirana 1001

Email: invahasanaliaj@faktoje.al

Date: 11.05.2022

Signature:

Detailed description of required information
 
1)       Is Fier incinerator currently working? If yes, what is the waste capacity disposed and managed daily? How much waste has been processed by this incinerator since it started operating (specifically for each year and month)? If not, when were the works suspended and why?

2)       How many employees are there in this incinerator? What has happened to them if works are suspended? Have employees been paid regularly? Are there any payments due?

3)       What is happening with waste disposed to this incinerator before being suspended?

4)       Which are the municipalities that dispose waste at Fier incinerator? Where does these municipalities currently dispose their waste?

5)       When are work expected to resume?

6)       Does the concessionaire that has been taking over waste management in Fier, despite the suspension, keep being paid?

 

 

On the other hand, State Supreme Audit has also found that Fier Municipality did not observe waste treatment chain before disposing to the incineration.

REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA

STATE SUPREME AUDIT

GENERAL SECRETARY

No. 450/1 prot.                                                                                                           Tirana, 12.05.2022

Subject:                             Response

To:                       Mrs. Inva Hasanaliaj

Email: invahasanaliaj@faktoje.al

Following the request for information, registered with no. 450 prot., dated .05.2022, be kindly informed that:

State Supreme Audit has conducted a performance audit on “Management of solid waste processing in xxx Fier Municipality”. Attached you will find a certified copy of the original report.

Furthermore, State Supreme Audit has conducted an audit on “Tirana Incinerator” issue, based on Audit Program no. 1142/18 prot., dated 10.05.2021 approved by the Head of the Supreme State Audit. The audit is still in xxx phase, therefore its publication shall be possible following the approval of the Final Report, in accordance with the SSA Regulation of Audit Procedures.

Kindly be informed that State Supreme Audit has not performed an audit regarding Elbasan incinerator.

 

According to SSA, Fier Municipality has been almost not involved throughout the process starting with the decision-making of the incinerator construction until its commissioning.

6. Fier Municipality, as the highest local government body in Fier Region, has not given any opinion neither for incinerator’s construction for waste incineration in Fier, nor for landfill construction.

7. There is no opinion expressed by official local institutions on the landfill construction near the incineration plant.

 

SSA hereby specifies that Fier Municipality has not given any opinion or position on incinerator or landfill construction. Another issue is overcoming of waste treatment chain going directly to the incineration, which is not in line with implementation of the National Waste Strategy.

Conclusions

Ø  Due to the lack of professional opinions of official local institutions and beyond, it is unable:

o    To come up with a clear opinion about positive and negative impacts of these projects;

o    To have transparency and accurate information for the public about usefulness of these projects.

Ø  Due to the lack of an environmental study assessing the selection of the best alternative by the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy and Fier Municipality, it is unable to found out why waste incineration was the selected alternative by overcoming their reuse and recycling processes.

Ø  Selection of waste incineration method without prior reuse and recycling processes is not in line with the implementation of the National Waste Strategy.

SSA Report

Faktoje sent a request for information to SSA aiming to find out whether it has audited the three incinerators in question. The response of such institution stated that two checks were performed, one for Fier incinerator, which has been sent to us and the other one for Tirana, which was still in processing stage.

Another violation found is related to basic principles of waste management according to the Waste Management Framework Directive 2008/98/EC, transposed with Law No. 10463, dated 22.09.2011 .

Pursuant to such Directive, all municipalities should have the appropriate infrastructure to carry out prevention, reuse, recycling and recovery. However, as unlike required for all three cases of incinerator construction, they have already reached the final phase, i.e., waste disposal. Such violation is clearly found even in the SSA Report on Fier incinerator.

Faktoje has requested official information from Elbasan and Tirana Municipalities on incinerators’ operation, however they have remained unresponsive until the publication of this article.

Faktoje went visiting each one of the on-site incinerators, where we found out that Tirana incinerators is not operational even though the investment was launched since 2017 and 35 million Euro have been paid so far. While landfill kept collecting waste which is certainly waiting to be incinerated.

*Tirana Landfill 15/05/2022

Waste management is not fully operational even in Tirana . Bins seems to be placed at every point within the city and their emptying is done regularly by cars, however the situation of suburban areas seems not the same.

Tirana River, Rinas Bridge

In March 2022, Faktoje sent a request for information to Elbasan Municipality regarding waste treatment issue. The municipality does not answer a series of questions related to Elbasan Incinerator.

REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA

ELBASAN MUNICIPALITY

No. 988/1 Prot.                                                                             Elbasan, 16/3/2022

Subject: Response.

ALKET LUKU, FAKTOJE

“Nasi Pavllo” Street, Pallati Edil Al, Floor 3, Entrance 1, Ap 8.

Following the request for information with no. 988 Prot dated 23.02.2022, regarding the following questions:

1.       Did Elbasan incinerator start work and when?

Regarding operation of Elbasan incinerator, please request information from “Albtek Energy” shpk company.

2.       Is Elbasan incinerator currently working?

You should ask “Albtek Energy” shpk company.

3.       Which are the municipalities and administrative units that deposit waste at Elbasan incinerator?

Elbasan Municipality has information only for waste generated by this local unit, whereas for the other municipalities you should ask information from “Albtek Energy” shpk. company.

4.       How many tons of waste are treated daily in this incinerator?

Elbasan Municipality has information only for waste generated by this local unit which are approx. 78 tons/day, whereas for other municipalities, you should ask information from “Albtek Energy” shpk. company.

5.       What is the impact that incinerator construction has had on waste management and environment?

Incinerator construction has had a positive impact on waste management and for the reduction of environmental pollution.

Thank you for your cooperation.

DEPUTY MAYOR

Aulona Bylykbashi

                                                                                                                    [seal, stamp]

The Municipality stated that incinerator construction has had a positive impact on the environment by reducing pollution levels. However, a month right after such response, the on-site observation performed by Faktoje over Shkumbin River from Elbasan to Peqin showed that pollution and illegal landfills were significantly problematic.

*Waste disposal sites along Shkumbin River in Librazhd

*Waste disposal sites along Shkumbin River in Librazhd

*Waste disposal sites along Shkumbin River in Elbasan

Faktoje went to the site where landfill and incinerator was built with the aim to talk to company executives or managers who may have been present at the time, however on both days we were accompanied by guards of the two entities, who after communicating with the management referred us to Elbasan Municipality.

According to the official data of the annual public investments list available on the official website of Ministry of Finance, Elbasan incinerator, already seized, has received state budget funding from amounting to 3 billion ALL or about 24 million Euro. Such amount has been given during 2015-2021.

The last payment made in 2021 is approved by the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in an official answer to Faktoje.al

As regards the sixth question, does the concessionaire that has been taking over waste management in Elbasan, despite the suspension, keep being paid? What is the paid value?

According to the Concession Agreement, company payments were completed in March 2021 with the payment of the financial support last instalment.

*MEI answer for Faktoje.al

Unlike what Prime Minister Rama claims for the three incinerators, two of which are not operational, waste issues keep being present in all the three communities while spending sump of such works keeps existing and deepens.