Whilst difficult to overstate the devastating impact of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, there has been one surprisingly positive outcome for environmental reform. Ukraine’s parliament has been able to pass a number of measures that had hitherto been resisted by business groups, a top official has said.

In an exclusive interview with Kyiv Post, Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Environmental Policy and Nature Management, Oleh Bondarenko, said laws on waste management that had been held up for eight years have now been passed and are already bearing fruit.

“The biggest achievement is the adoption of the law on waste management – this is an important reform that we have been trying to adopt for eight years because of huge resistance from industrial groups that influenced parliament,” he said.

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Before the 2022 war, pro-president parliamentary faction members were accused of corruption and sabotaging the implementation of European environmental standards. However, draft legislation seeks to change that and lays the foundations for implementing new standards for waste management. Several pilot schemes are already underway.

“At the moment, we are working on implementing pilot clusters in three regions – Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Lviv,” Bondarenko added.

Ukraine generates 440-460 million tons of waste annually, most of which is sent to landfill.

Despite positive developments in how some of that waste will be dealt with, the negative environmental aspects of the war still make uncomfortable reading.

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According to Bondarenko, official losses to the country’s ecology as a direct result of the war amount to around 1.3 trillion Hr. ($34 billion).

There are 850 cases of ecological damage formally recorded in the register maintained by the Ministry of Environment and the State Environmental Inspectorate.

Damage caused to forests in Ukraine alone comes to 14 billion Hr. (about $370 million), with further detail on these losses to be specified in the future.

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