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Half of Moscow’s landfills full to brim

Published: 23 April, 2012, 21:30

Half of Moscow’s landfills full to brim (RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)

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TAGS:EcologyPrime Time RussiaAnya FedorovaNeil HarveyLindsay France

Moscow Region is closing half of its landfills as they are overfilled with garbage. The news has sparked fears of a rubbish crisis in the Russian capital.

“As many as 18 landfills out of 41 are overfilled with garbage,” Valery Shkurov, the head of Moscow Region utilities, told Rossiyskaya Gazeta. “We are closing them in 2012. Another 14 will be closed in 2013-15.”

With Moscow dumping over 9.7 million tonnes of garbage every year, the remaining landfills will be filled in three to four years. The regional authorities say there is no use in building more.

Instead, they are planning to build 11 garbage recycling plants and another four garbage sorting stations in the region. There will also be several joint projects performed both by Moscow and the surrounding region.

“As a result, we will no longer dump or burn waste in the region,” said Shrukov. “The specialists are now selecting the most efficient utilization technology.”

Currently, there are more than 150 illegal landfills and 93 legal ones in the Moscow region, according to the International Academy of Ecological Reconstruction. Specialists, meanwhile, are working on brand new approaches to waste recycling, such as plasma gasification.

“This technology enables us to process all kinds of waste from solid domestic waste to industrial or medical waste, including the hazardous kinds,” Marat Kaderleev, general director at TBK innovations, told RT.

The waste is delivered to the processing plant where it is shredded down to the necessary size. It is then fed into the reactor for complete annihilation, Kaderleev exaplined. The carbon is turned into a synthetic gas that can be used for electric power or liquid fuel production.

The non-carbon compounds exit the reactor as a lava-like mass, which transforms into a sort of volcanic sand. This can be used in the construction industry.

‘This is a clean and cost-effective way of processing 98 per cent of all types of waste,” Kaderleev said. “That means practically no additional waste will ever have to go to landfills.”

Another project, called “Green Supermarket,” has been put forward by Greenpeace.

“We are trying to persuade large chains to collect used packaging,” Aleksey Kiselev, head of Greenpeace Russia’s toxic program, told RT. “The major shopping networks say they’d be happy to introduce the scheme, though they worry people won’t use it. But the events we recently organized show how wrong they are as it’s obvious that people are interested in our initiative.”

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