Armenia – Plastic containers, bottles and bags made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are among the main water source pollutants in Armenia. At the same time, volumes of plastics packaging and bottles are growing rapidly within the country as a result of the increased consumption of water, soft drinks, dairy and other products packaged in PET containers, with national disposal rates for PET bottles currently running at around 5000 tonnes per year.In response, a recycling project is being implemented in the capital of Yerevan and in the regions of Gegharkunik, Lori, Armavir, Kotayk and Shirak, in areas close to water basins and with the highest concentration of PET waste. Based on results and lessons learned, the project will be expanded to more areas in Armenia. The total budget for the project is US$ 540 000, of which the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will pay 80% and the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) the other 20%. The Eco-Engineering company will invest US$ 1.5 million contingent upon the collection of up to 3000 tonnes of PET per year.
USAID’s Armenia Mission Director Dr Jatinder Cheema states: ‘This partnership effort, together with targeted municipalities and civil society, will be an important step toward establishing environmentally-friendly solid waste management systems in selected areas and boosting the collection and recycling of plastic containers to reduce pollution.’ In addition to its ecological impact, she adds, the project will help create jobs for local people on low incomes and support the development of relevant micro- and small-size enterprises which will contribute to the country’s economic growth.
According to UNDP representative in Armenia Dafina Gercheva, waste reduction, recycling and reuse should form part of an overall waste management policy.
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