The municipality of Durres adopted a government proposal on June 10 for the city’s waste to be incinerated for €60 million for the next 20 years. In addition, it asked the government to subsidize the cost for the next 10 years, roughly €30 million.
The decision comes amid a repeated waste management emergency in the city.
Less than a month after the November 26, 2019 earthquake, the Albanian government closed the Porto Romano landfill in Durrës.
In December 2019, the government awarded a tender worth €15 million to a joint venture between De Mare and Victoria Invest International to turn the landfill into a park. Since June 2020, the Special Prosecution Against Corruption (SPAK) has been investigating the tender procedures for allegedly violating the principles of competition.
A 2009 project by the World Bank recommended the closing of the Porto Romano landfill, as the only way to solve the “catastrophic” environmental situation that had been created. Back then, the cost was estimated at €4 million.
The project was not implemented and three more controversial waste incinerators were built through public-private partnerships in Tirana, Fier, and Elbasan.
Following the 2019 decision to close the landfill, the municipality of Durrës soon found itself unable to get rid of its waste throughout the city. The stench of waste piling up the streets added to the pain and distress from the earthquake, and the anxiety of an unprecedented pandemic.
In June 2020, Prime Minister Edi Rama said he had successfully pressured the municipality to enter a deal with Tirana incinerator concession holder Integrated Energy B.V SPV.
“We had to increase pressure on the municipality of Durrës regarding this important agreement,” Rama said.
A couple of days later, the mayor of Durrës asked the company to provide them with a draft agreement for the incineration of waste, including costs. It was promptly provided the next day, according to BIRN.
However, in another letter to the mayor, the company offered to incinerate the waste for free until September 15, saying they had discussed the issue with “competent authorities.”
In August, the municipality presented the government with 3 potential solutions: a new landfill for the cost €11 million, another one for €5.2 million, and the incineration of 75,000 tons of waste at the cost of €51 million for 20 years.
The government disregarded the proposals and presented the municipality with its own. The Municipal Council adopted one of the proposed solutions, which will cost €60 million for 20 years, and Durrës’ waste will be incinerated in Tirana. It also asked the government to subsidize the cost for the first 10 years.
A final government decision on the agreement between the municipality and the company, as well as the requested subsidy, is still pending. Until July 15, Durrës’ waste will be incinerated for free by Integrated Energy B.V SPV, as has been the case for the past year, while it waits for a possible lucrative questionable agreement.