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UNDA Project 1819AE: Albania - Waste management


The COVID-19 disease has impacted all corners of the globe socially, environmentally, and economically. One major impact in addressing the repercussions of the disease is the challenges it presents in terms of waste management. Indeed, waste was produced in vast quantities which presents a huge threat to the environment and health of people. As such, it is important that waste from health care facilities must be treated in a proper manner, which also extends to household waste. Other challenges include an increase in plastic waste, illegal dumping and the suspension of recycling activities. In developing countries and countries with economies in transition, waste management presents a challenge even without the drastic added impact of a global pandemic. In Albania, although the Council of Ministers declared on 3 March 2020 that the waste produced from COVID-19 patients should be treated differently to other waste, a gap remained in the treatment of waste from households with infected people. This type of waste becomes mixed with other municipal waste, which is then either sent to treatment facilities or, in some cases, it is deposited directly in illegal dump sites and nature.  

In order to enact good governance and policies to address waste management in response to COVID-19, an important first step must be made in assessing the situation of depositing sites, landfills and incinerators in Albania. In response to this, the UNECE has supported Albania in developing an in-depth report of the existing conditions of waste management facilities, as well as suggested measures and tools to minimize the risks that waste management facilitates may pose, with the overall goal of enhancing waste management in addressing COVID-19 and other pandemics. Among other things, activities undertaken for this assessment included an identification of the best practices in waste management in other developing countries; ranking dumpsites based on unified technical, legal and health criteria; and an intervention plan and costs for the implementation of recommendations to improve waste treatment facilities.

Such activities should not only coordinate the necessary waste treatment efforts in response to COVID-19, but will also lead to a safer and more environmentally friendly waste treatment system in times of pandemics and other periods.