Wind of rubbish

How the reform of waste collection has changed the Moscow region

Reading time 6 minutes

The reform of rubbish collection was launched on the 1st of January 2019 as a part of “The Comprehensive System Of The Household Waste Treatment” project. This project in its turn is one of ten parts of Russia-wide project “The Ecology”. It was stated in 2018 and going to continue till 2024.

Parts of national project «The Ecology»
Parts of national project «The Ecology»

Moscow and other 10 regions excluded themselves from the program for a while. They will join it in 2022. The experience of the Moscow region on the contrary has become a role model.

What the government did?

The Moscow region government organized separate collection of household garbage. Bins of different colour appeared in cities. Blue one is destined for recyclable litter such as paper, plastic, glass, and metal. Grey bin — for non recyclable rubbish. Yellow ones that can be found in shopping malls and other public places are intended to contain dangerous waste like batteries, chargers and home appliances. Such garbage is transported to Chelyabinsk to the conversion.

Sorted safe rubbish should be sent to the local waste recycling plants. There are five such places now. As the Chairman Of The Government Of The Moscow Region Yevgeny Khromushin said, till 2030 only 5% of rubbish will be buried. Now 28 of 39 wastelands are closed, rest of them will follow as soon as 7 recycling plants will have been constructed. Moreover, 4 incineration plants are to appear till 2022. It is supposed that in the process of burning electricity will be produced.

Grey bins are removed regularly, while blue ones — after having been completely filled
Grey bins are removed regularly, while blue ones — after having been completely filled

In some cities the government with the support of rubbish utilising companies have launched social projects. They believe that it motivates dwellers to hand over waste for recycling. Every handed over 7 kilograms of paper, 10 kilograms of glass or 3 kilograms of polyethylene give Electrostal citizens discounts to the partner organizations of the project “Waste to Wealth”.

What dwellers noticed?

New line has recently appeared in utility bills. It is a tax for garbage removal. Such service used to be included into apartment service tax. The Moscow region has not switched to per capita calculation of tax, therefore residents have to pay it depended on the living space. As a result, a single pensioner in a three-room apartment «trash» more than a family in a single-room one.

New incineration plant is to be built next to the largest not only in the Moscow region but also in Europe landfill “Timokhovo”. The first stage of construction is degassing of the dump. Dwellers of Timokhovo, Elektrougli, Elektrostal, and Noginsk monitor the process and regularly complain about the smell of landfill gases within 10 kilometres. The situation is aggravated by the Elektrostal landfill six kilometers from Timokhovo. Landfills poison both air and water, so the residents of nearby settlements have to buy expensive and powerful filters, while to Elektrostal water comes from the Vladimir region.

Safety area around the dump is from 500 to 1000 metres.
Safety area around the dump is from 500 to 1000 metres

“It turns out that 1.5 million tons of waste will be stored in Timokhovo per year and 700 thousand tons will be burned. In other words, more than 2 million tons of rubbish will be put just in one point every year! We will be completely deprived of water, air…”, — said Veronika Kuzmina, representative of the active group of residents “Stop plant and landfill Timokhovo”.

What else?

The Moscow region produces about 5.3 million tons of garbage annually. Landfills accept up to 4.6 million tons, conversing complexes — up to 1.1 million. In addition, Moscow dwellers send up to 6.6 million tons of waste beyond the Moscow ring road annually. Due to the lag of the Moscow “garbage reform” from the Moscow region, the capital’s garbage will be “raked” by the rest of Russia, primarily the Moscow region. Half of the conversing and incineration complexes capacity is designed for Moscow.

At the same time the Moscow region government is going to change waste generation standards. They consider the standards to be lower than they should be what means that the dwellers of the region produce more litter. In this case they would pay for garbage removal more. However, where this waste is to be sent legally?

Unlike the government, residents do not think that the taxes are low. The percentage of their collection in any region does not reach 100%. As a result, regional operators that are responsible for removing garbage to legal landfills and conversing complexes are on the verge of bankruptcy. The resignation of the head of the “Russian environmental operator” also indicates the unstable situation of the “garbage reform”.

“Journalistic is not a profession to come into, it is a profession to be seduced”

Cheese maker, journalist, and optimist Halina Spasskaya speaks about the ability of living how you want

Reading time 6 minutes

When Moscow began to grow beyond Sadovoe ring, I was working as a cheese making technologist. I was able to distinguish 100 kinds of cheese. But one day I accidentally turned up at the radio-station and fell in love with it. Journalistic is not a profession to come into, it is a profession to be seduced.

Love and session

I entered Moscow state university but was dropped out of it at the end of the first year. Thus, I understood once and for all my life that love and session are incompatible. My choice was never in favour of session… It is a family feature: my grandfather was expelled from a seminary because of his love affairs. By the way, he married a beautiful woman and became an engineer. He worked at Kurskiy railway station, so lobbied landowner L’vova’s interests when she decided to divide her estate into sites and sell them for dachas. Exactly that dachas are said to be described in “Vishneviy sad” by Chekhov. As for the faculty of journalism, I finished it in Moscow State University of Printing Arts.

“Tyoshcha”, convicts and full bears

This painting was drawn by Halina Romanovna's pupil. By common consent of her old friends, it depicts her character most of all.
This painting was drawn by Halina Romanovna’s pupil. By common consent of her old friends, it depicts her character most of all

One day I was promptly sent to the event in Onega at White sea. When I rushed to the ticket office, it turned out that Onega can be reached just by the only trailer car which went once a week. That trailer car had already gone. That is why I developed the tactic and went with changes to Plesetsk then by Murmansk train to the station from which train for workers, “tyoshcha”, went twice a day. However, I did not count that Murmansk railway was a single-track one and after driving through one section, the train waited for the oncoming one to do the same. Due to this fact, I missed the “tyoshcha”. So, I went to the station masters-on-duty and said that I had to be in Onega till 7 p.m when the event started. They replied, “Easy as pie! Once you have gone right through the taiga about 2 or 3 km, you will see the road along which convicts are carrying the forest. They will give you a lift. People as people. Don’t be frightened, bears are full in Autumn”. Well, I am a sensible woman I asked for another way. It was pretty suitable. Girls stopped the passing locomotive, “You’ ll be transferred to the track crossover. We’ve called the duty. She’ll stop the oncoming car to Onega”. How unique northern people are! I was afraid that convicts might pass by but the duty reassured, “Don’t worry, I closed the crossover, nobody can pass by without stopping”. Yeah, they gave me a lift, so I was in time for the event.

PhD’s envy

Nowadays Halina Romanovna takes any possibility to travel, though, by more comfortable transport. She prefers rucksacks to suitcases which never takes with her
Nowadays Halina Romanovna takes any possibility to travel, though, by more comfortable transport. She prefers rucksacks to suitcases which never takes with her

My progress in journalistic was quick I became an editor at “Podolsk-radio” but still felt that I have lack of knowledge in social science. That is why I started searching for places where I could study. At that very time Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences was opened. It was the only place where sociologists were taught and I was lucky to get after-graduate programme as academic Igor Bestuzhev-Lada tutee. I was attracted by the programme of social psychology. Studying was splendiferous: lectures were held once a week and we got wages for it. Moreover, a month time off was given to us to prepare a dissertation and we could take another one without salary to finish it. Of course, I used them all! My husband envied he said, “I am a scientist of the Russian Academy of Sciences and I have only 45 days off while you have 54”.

Don’t wait – live now

In childhood my health was poor. I had congenital heart disease and diabetes but father always told me, “You can always lie as an ill person but you ought to live energetically. Now”. He taught me to ride a horse, drive a car, swim. There is a 300 metres long pond in our town and father said that I should swim it across to learn how to swim. I was stunned. It was scary… However, I succeeded at the second try. When I was floundering, he held me up. My father skied with me, let me drive a motorbike, even sent me to a shooting club. By the way, I had the first ranking because I could shoot 96 targets from 100. In my opinion, active social lifestyle starts when you stop frightening of working.

Halina Romanovna's Instagram page
Halina Romanovna’s Instagram page

Nowadays, Galina Romanovna is Podolsk star. Over 17 hundred of people are subscribed to her Instagram blog. “Orel i reshka. Babushka” casting must have added fame indeed.