A group of organisations for environmental protection on Thursday called on the Croatian government to adopt a waste management plan as soon as possible in order to prevent possible economic, financial and environmental repercussions.

The NGOs said that the adoption of a waste management plan for the period from 2016 to 2020 was the main precondition for the absorption of money from the EU Cohesion Fund intended to facilitate the accomplishment of goals defined by EU directives on waste management and that if the plan was not adopted, it would not be possible to use budget money for that purpose in 2017.

A total of EUR 475 million is planned to be absorbed from the Cohesion Fund for waste management and the question arises why the new waste management plan has not been adopted yet, the NGOs said.

The NGOs questioned which interest groups were against the new waste management concept that envisages a higher rate of waste sorting, the establishment of a higher number of waste recycling centres, household composting and more household waste sorting.

They expressed confidence that the proposed sustainable waste management system could prevent a significant increase in the cost of household waste collection, help achieve the set waste recycling targets and establish a system of separate waste collection as well as the recycling of 50% of paper, glass, metal and plastic waste.

They said that under the new waste management concept, the previously planned waste management centres that had not been set up yet would reduce their capacity for the treatment of unsorted waste while centres that had been set up would have to adjust to the new waste management model and reduce their costs.

The previously planned capacity of county waste management centres is almost equal to the total amount of unsorted waste produced by all Croatian citizens and tourists, which is contrary to EU directives on the introduction of waste sorting by 2020, the NGOs said.

Pushing for a technologically outdated, economically unsustainable and environmentally unacceptable waste management model that is based on waste management centres that process unsorted garbage in order to separate waste that can be incinerated, implies financial, environmental and economic repercussions which interest groups, supported by some 'experts', are evading, the NGOs said.

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