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Hungary prepares to introduce stricter waste regulations

Back in July, the Hungarian government took decisive action to eliminate illegal waste disposal sites in line with the commitments set out in its Climate and Nature Protection Action Plan. The proposed legislation would introduce strict sanctions and penalise harshly those who are leaving their waste where they shouldn’t.

According to Anita Boros, State Secretary for Construction Economy, Infrastructure and Sustainability, the elimination of illegally discarded waste is a cornerstone of reforming the country’s waste management system which also includes the introduction of new sanctions and penalties.

The forthcoming regulation would propose that even a small infringement would entail a fine, in the most severe cases illegal dumping of waste could be punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment. The new regulation would set out different sanctions for natural persons and companies.

The government also plans to set up a Waste Management Authority to monitor the waste management sector, track illegal waste disposal sites, apprehend fly-tippers, impose penalties and oblige property owners to remove waste in cooperation with local governments.

At the end of August, the government also launched the first pilot project of its programme under the name of Let’s Clean Up the Country! in partnership with strategic Hungarian companies and municipalities. The test phase will run until the end of September 2020 and after the evaluation of the results, the implementation of the project will start during the autumn.

The government is encouraging citizens as well to take an active role in cleaning the country. As many illegal dumping sites are only known to residents, the government developed a mobile application called WasteRadar, that will make it easier for anyone to report illegal landfills.

In the framework of the new policy guidelines for waste management, the government also aims to decrease the amount of waste produced and to create incentives for the wider availability of reusable products.

At the beginning of July, the Hungarian Parliament voted to pass a bill banning the distribution of single-use plastics, particularly plastic cups, cutlery, plates, straws and carrier bags ahead of the deadline set by the European Union.

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