Tuesday, 25 September

Alavaerdi's Growing Garbage Problem: Millions Being Spent to No Avail

Armenia’s northern town of Alaverdi is turning into an “open-air” garbage dump.

The Debed River, flowing through Alaverdi, continues to serve as a convenient dump site for local supermarkets and stores.

Streets in the town haven’t been cleaned for years, and the overall trash removal problem is getting better.

It would appear that a nearby garbage disposal site costing 151 million AMD and completed in 2012 hasn’t made a dent in the problem.

The dump, built at the initiative of former Alaverdi Mayor Artur Nalbandyan (now Lori Provincial Governor), spreads across 4.6 hectares and has a collection capacity of some 3,800 cubic meters of commercial waste.

Alaverdi’s “Community Communal Enterprise” (CCE), the agency responsible for garbage removal seems to be twiddling its fingers in the meantime.

This 22 employee agency spends 29.5 million AMD annually on salaries alone. The agency is supposed to maintain a fleet of garbage trucks and see that the trash is collected on time.

The municipality allocates another 33 million for waster removal and disposal.

All this taxpayer money appears to be going down the tubes. Commercial waste continues to be dumped helter-skelter along the banks of the Debed.

Local shopkeeper Rita Niazyan had the following to say in her defense.

“Where should people dump their garbage? There are no trash bins nearby. This situation isn’t pleasant for me and others.”

Niazyan said that local residents also dump their trash in the area.

Artur Kharatyan, manager of the Kata Supermarket, a major dumper, told me that the store has entered into a waste removal contract with the CCE.

“We don’t dump our garbage on the banks of the river, but in trash bins located nearby the river,” Kharatyan said.

But the Kata manager confessed that he hasn’t visited the site for quite a while and doesn’t know what the situation is like.

“Let me also say that we return our cardboard and plastic packaging to the manufacturer. The only garbage we dump is the trash swept up by our cleaners. Perhaps the reason why the trash is being carted off is that there really isn’t a convenient transfer site.”

We later saw that Kata was dumping its garbage from a nearby support wall directly into the Debed.

He tried to get Alaverdi Mayor Artavazd Varosyan to talk about the garbage problem in his community.

Over the phone, he told us, “I was just informed about the situation at the site in question today. The CCE was there this morning cleaning up. I was present as well.”

Mayor Varosyan is hindering neighboring communities from using the new garbage dump. He says they failed to contribute financially to its construction.

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