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”.

Where the Halloween came from?

A brief history of the worldwide holiday

Reading time 6 minutes

Although many people celebrate the Halloween at the eve of November 1, not many of them are aware of the roots of the holiday. This article is just about the history of Halloween.

The holiday was invented by Druids that was one of the peoples pertaining to the ancient Celtic tribes. The majority of Druids inhabited the territory of modern UK, France and Spain. They divides a year to 2 seasons, so they did not have Spring and Autumn. Summer ended at October 31 and the next day new season, Winter, and New Wear begun. Also, October 31 was the last day of harvest. Then Celtic tribes celebrated Samhain which means the end of Summer in translation from Celtic. During the holiday people lit sacred fires, thanked gods for not depriving the tribe from crops, and met the dark season. Samhain was the ancestor of contemporary Halloween.

The area setteled by the Celtic tribes B.C.
The area setteled by the Celtic tribes B.C.

Ancient Celtic tribes adhere paganism. They believe that in the Samhain’s night souls of the dead roam in the world of the living. Celtic tried to propitiate them with sweet gifts so that they keep the next harvest safe. These beliefs have transformed into trick-or-treat tradition. Children knock to the doors of adults to entreat them to give sweets and biscuits. Nobody refuses because in the past superstition that anyone who did not open the door for the spirit, would be punished existed.

Halloween is the day, when people eat the largest amount of sweets anually
Halloween is the day when people eat the largest amount of sweets anually

One more custom is carving lanterns from pumpkins. Not having wanted to attract ghosts to houses at Samhain’s night, ancient Celts extinguished their hearths and kindled forest fires. To reach the forest safely, they dressed in animal skins. In the forest the Druids performed sacrifices: they burned cows at the stake. After that the fire became sacred. Members of the tribe placed coals from their fires in lanterns cut from turnips. Then the Druids took the lanterns and left them at the door so that the souls of their ancestors could see their homes and escape wandering around the world. Dark spirits, according to the Celts, were afraid of this fire.

The tradition is based on Celtic myths. The legend says that the Irishman Jack lived to outwit both God and the devil, therefore he did not go to heaven or hell after death but remained in purgatory forever. In order not to wander in the pitch darkness, he made a lantern. The farmer put a hell coal given by the devil into the lantern.

Nowadays, the pumpkin has become the main symbol of Halloween
Nowadays, the pumpkin has become the main symbol of Halloween

At the beginning of the new era the Celts were conquered by the Romans then both were forced to become Christians. Because of this, pagan holidays were gradually mixed with Church ones or blurred but they were not consigned to oblivion, for example, Samhain underwent a metamorphosis.

After Pope Gregory III officially moved the celebration of All Hallows Eve from spring to November 1, the ancient pagan holiday and the new Catholic one coincided. From that moment Samhain was called Halloween. Initially, All Hallows Eve was shortened to Hallowe’en and then to Halloween.

Halloween parade in New-York, the capital of the holiday
Halloween parade in New-York, the capital of the holiday

In the 19th century many Irish emigrated to North America and brought the traditions of the holiday. Now Halloween is celebrated most widely in Canada, the United States, New Zealand and other English-speaking countries. From the beginning of A.D. to the XXI century many rituals have changed. Jack’s lantern is not made from turnips anymore, nowadays people make it from pumpkins. Moreover, they carve not ancestors’ faces but terrifying ones. Revelers do not dress up in animal skins they wear costumes of evil spirits. Nowadays, the celebration of Halloween is becoming more popular even in those countries that did not adopt the Celtic culture from their ancestors.