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Seminar for Latgale Region Municipalities on Waste Management and Circular Economy

27.03.2024

In collaboration with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (MEPRD) and Europe Direct South Latgale Center, Latgale Planning Region (LPR) organized an online seminar for local governments on waste management and circular economy. The seminar addressed current issues in waste management and introduced the activities and results of the "Waste as Resources in Latvia" (LIFE Waste To Resources IP) project to municipalities.

Alise Vecozola, Head LIFE integrated project Implementation Division (MEPRD), presented the progress of the "Waste as Resources in Latvia – Promoting Regional Sustainability and Circularity by Implementing the Waste as Resource Concept" (LIFE Waste To Resources IP) to date. Several campaigns have been implemented within the project, including the recently launched informative campaign "Give a Chance for Improvement", aiming to change public perceptions and promote responsible disposal of electrical appliances for reuse. Additionally, the "Lab!" electrical repair workshop was opened in early February to extend the lifespan of used electrical devices, thus reducing waste. It's worth noting that the project's platform Lietovelreiz.lv serves as a daily tool, offering opportunities for electronics repair and rental services nationwide.

With a focus on improving waste sorting efficiency and promoting industrial symbiosis, which serves not only environmental protection but also economic development, Cleantech Latvia has established the industrial symbiosis platform Sinergia.lv. Moreover, an acceleration program for manufacturing companies will be offered this spring within the project to find solutions for managing and using by-products or waste in the production process, thereby creating new jobs and enhancing the competitiveness of businesses.

This year, within the project, Ltd. Nordic Plast is undergoing the accreditation process for a newly established laboratory to determine the recyclability of plastic packaging and products. The test results of plastic packaging will be available in the Latvian Plastic Packaging and Plastic-Containing Product Database, providing information on recyclability of plastic packaging and plastic product. The aim is to promote the reuse of polymer packaging as much as possible, replacing the use of primary raw materials and reducing the presence of non-recyclable plastics in the market, thus ensuring the secondary use of resources, and reducing the negative environmental impact.

Continuing the seminar, Diāna Stendzeniece, Senior Specialist in Environmental Protection at the Central Administration of Environment, Health, and Community Engagement of the Liepāja Municipality, highlighted the existing environmental challenges in Liepaja. She emphasized the need to address the issue of cigarette butts, which account for approximately 41% of total pollution. To tackle this problem, the initiative "Don't Buy Excessive, Bring Your Own!" has been launched to encourage responsible consumption and reduce unnecessary plastic use. D.Stendzeniece stressed the importance of promoting this initiative through various channels and enhancing information dissemination, particularly emphasizing the significance of the container initiative, which promotes the use of reusable packaging. One of the goals is to introduce deposit glasses at public events to reduce the use of single-use plastics. Additionally, environmental education and awareness are crucial, especially involving scientific aspects in the educational process. Active involvement of children in research, in collaboration with the Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology, where microplastics are studied and knowledge about various types of pollution is gained, is highly effective.

Also mentioned was Liepāja's most popular annual activity, "Car-Free Day," which takes place during European Mobility Week. This initiative promotes public understanding of alternative transportation options and positively impacts the city's environment and air quality.

In conclusion of the seminar, Oskars Zuģickis, Head of Europe Direct South Latgale Center, emphasized the Green Deal as the foundation of environmental activities. He highlighted various initiatives implemented in municipalities to enhance public understanding of environmental issues and promote their involvement in activities. O.Zuģickis informed about the events during Environment Day, which has become a successful form of informing students and the public about environmental issues. He revealed that in Līvāni, approximately 400 participants attended an event offering a wide range of informational and creative programs. Similarly, events in Daugavpils demonstrate active involvement of youth, residents, and local governments in promoting environmental issues. All educational institutions participate in these events, involving both students and teachers, indicating the growing interest of society in environmental issues. Additionally, Zuģickis mentioned the "Green Light to Be Heard" initiative, which focuses on eco-schools and promoting environmental issues in educational institutions. These initiatives organize seminars both remotely and in-person, discussing environmental issues and promoting waste management topics in student and teacher education. It's noteworthy that the role of higher education institutions in promoting environmental issues in these events is equally important, involving university teaching staff who speak on environmental topics and promote environmental education.

This active collaboration between various community and educational institutions reflects the growing importance and relevance of environmental issues, providing hope for significant improvements in environmental protection and the shaping of a sustainable future.

 

 

 

 

 

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