Municipality saddled with pile of garbage

  • 2011-04-27
  • From wire reports

TALLINN - Volunteers of the Estonian environment clean-up campaign ‘Let’s Do It’ collected garbage during previous years; however, the civic initiative has turned out to be a problem for several municipalities after the company hired to dispose of the junk has gone bankrupt, reports ERR. Last year, the Environment Board took it upon itself to remove the 1,800 tons of waste, mainly demolition and construction debris, dumped by the contractor Utileek in 2008 at the intermediate transfer yard on Tallinn’s outskirts. Now the rural municipality of Tartu is reported to be saddled with over 10,000 tons of waste heaped on the former Soviet military airfield at Raadi.

The dump, according to some estimates consisting of up to 15,000 tons of waste, is being sold by the bankruptcy trustees of the now defunct Utileek. Some of it recyclable, its value on paper is a little over half a million euros, but since not a penny has been left from the bankruptcy, nobody is willing to pick up the bill for moving the waste.

As according to the law, in case of bankruptcy, waste has to be removed by the property owner and since the one-time airfield is municipal land, the Ministry of the Environment is demanding, in a letter dispatched on April 19, that the municipality now fulfill its obligation. The municipality elder, Aivar Soop, said that this would mean 350,000 to 400,000 euros in costs. He said that he had turned to the former Minister of the Environment with a request that the state share some of the expense through the Environmental Investment Center, but that eventually the local community may still be forced to pay.

In 2008, the ‘Let’s Do It’ campaign to clean the country of ugly illegal garbage, in one single day through volunteer effort, sparked public enthusiasm. The initiative has also turned out to be one of Estonia’s major global export articles with similar events being organized around the world.