According to the European Commission progress reports on Montenegro, waste management is one of Montenegro’s priority issues. According to the EU, “an integrated waste management system [in Montenegro] is still considered at a very early stage of development. Moreover, cooperation among state and local authorities needs to be strengthened and new investments in this area are needed (with focus more on waste separation and recycling).” “Main efforts needs to be concentrated solely on the implementation and enforcement of the National Waste Management Master Plan. Current extremely low achievement rate of goals previously set (from 2011) is strong indicator of such need.”
- Waste production: It is difficult to give exact numbers as not all municipalities know exactly how much waste is produced in their municipality. According to extrapolation of official data, there would be about 160.000 tons produced per year so about 250 kg per person per year (data: 2017). But official data don’t always include waste dumped illegally. According to the former Head of Operations at the EU Delegation to Montenegro [Andre Lys] the amount of solid waste ‘produced’ every year was per person is about 6 tons (data: 2012). So no precise data on solid waste waste production are available to-date.
- Waste collection: Montenegro is a small country (650.000 people) with 23 municipalities divided in 3 main regions. There are 155 medium to large unregulated landfills across the country: around 60% of total waste collected in the country end up in those unregulated landfills. National targets of waste collection for 2017 are between 65% to 95% depending on the municipalities.
- Waste infrastructure: The waste management infrastructure in Montenegro is still under developed. Its development is part of the new National Solid Waste Management Plan. There are currently 9 recycling yards (6 in Podgorica, 1 in Herceg Novi and 1 in Kotor), 4 material sorting facilities (in Podgorica, Zabjlak, Kotor and Herceg Novi), and 2 sanitary landfills (in Podgorica (Livade) and Ulcinj Municipality (Mozura).
- Waste recycling: Currently less than 2-3% of Montenegro’s waste are recycled. The goal set in the NSWMP for 2017 is 25% and for 2020 is 50%. The current objective is to increase recycling in all municipalities as much as possible, regardless of the set goal. Municipalities have set their target for 2017 between 0.8% and 8% of waste recycled/waste produced, with more than half with only 0.8%.
- Challenges: the key constraints in the improvement of waste collection and recycling in Montenegro are:
- The topography of Montenegro (mountainous country)
- The sparse and poor rural population
- The lack of current waste management infrastructure
- The low budget of municipalities allocated to waste management
- The lack of channels to sell recyclables
- The lack of awareness regarding the impact of unregulated waste land-filling
- The local practices of outdoor waste incineration
- The lack of (human and financial) resources at national level
Update January 2017: Montenegro is currently waiting for the decision of the Ministry of Tourism and Sustainable Development regarding the 3 proposed options presented in the National Waste Management Plan: all 3 options have in common a vast majority of waste management infrastructures around the country (5 transfer stations, 3 MRF, 4 composting facilities, 5 sorting centers).
- Option 1 proposes the constructions of 2 new sanitized landfills (Niksic, B. Polije)
- Option 2 proposes the construction of a sanitized landfills (B. Polije) and a transfer station in Niksic
- Option 3 proposes the construction of a waste incineration plant (Niksic) and 3 transfer stations (B. Polije, Bar, Heceg Novi)
Update October 2017: Decision on which option will be chosen by Montenegrin Government which should have been announced in June 2017 is still unknown. A feasibility study for option 3 is still ongoing at the Ministry of Sustainable Development.
Update May 2018: The government has finally announced its decision: it will consists of operating 4 waste management centers (Podgorica, Nikšić, Bijelo Polje and Bar) giving them the choice of having a Recycling Center (MRF Plant) and/or a waste treatment plant for separate and controlled disposal of construction waste, and/or a waste heat treatment plant and/or a sanitary landfill. The choice is being left to each waste management center to select the most appropriate solution depending on their needs and their budget.