Description of innovation
The Municipal Authority of Almopia began in 2019 the planning for the implementation of the integrated program for the protection of the environment that focuses on the management of empty pesticide packaging, providing a solution to a chronic and dangerous phenomenon aiming at the quality of irrigation.
The implementation of the program began in the summer of 2021. The project is one of the many actions of the act entitled "Protection of the water resources by reducing the human environmental footprint" with the acronym "wa-mbrella" proposed in collaboration with the DEYA of Almopia, the Municipality of Negotino and the komunalec Negotino institution in the framework of a call for the INTERREG IPA Cross Border Cooperation Program. The "wa-mbrella" project focuses on reducing the human footprint in water resources in the three areas: Water supply, irrigation and sanitation. As a priority, the Municipality of Almopia, through a program for the placement of special pesticide packaging management bins, focuses on the protection of irrigation water.
Reasons for innovation
Plastic pesticide packaging is characterized as hazardous materials due to their content, with agricultural and livestock waste constituting the large percentage of total waste generation in the country. These include, among others, livestock waste, crop residues, plastic containers of pesticides - fertilizers and plastic greenhouse components. In the previous situation, empty pesticide packages ended up in the ground resulting in contamination of the aquifer and sometimes burned, resulting in air pollution. The impact on the environment and by extension on the health of the residents of the Municipality was significant. The "wa-mbrella" project reduces the environmental footprint of pollution caused by pesticide packaging, benefiting farmers and the entire population of the Municipality.
The aim of the innovation is to protect the environment of the area through a) Reduction of the number of discarded pesticide packages b) Increase the recycling of packaging c) Reduction of fires due to garbage d) Reduction of general pollution of water resources and the environment. The action seeks to protect the health of residents and the quality of the products produced by farmers.
Innovation resultsIn order to evaluate the results of innovation, the measurement of the environmental footprint from the collection and management of pesticide packaging per growing season is foreseen. Since July 2021, when the action is in operation, approximately 6 tons of empty pesticide packages have been collected, while the counting of the collected quantity of packages per growing season is foreseen.
At the wa-mbrella action design stage, partners participated in the design of the call for participation in the project and the integration of the action into the project deliverables. At this stage, an important role was played by the Directorate of Technical Services of the Municipality, which in cooperation with the elected officials determined the quality standards of the project.
For the implementation of the action, 83 new red bins with a capacity of 1,100 liters were placed in Aridaia and in almost all the communities of the Municipality for the disposal of empty pesticide packaging. The collection and management of the packaging was entrusted to a private contractor. In order to ensure the proper use of bins, they are differentiated in color from conventional garbage disposal bins so as not to be used for other waste. They are placed near the water collection centers because there is the opening of the pesticide packaging (the tanks are filled with water at the water abstraction points, in which the pesticide is thrown). Also, the Municipality started to inform farmers about the action. Informing the users of pesticides is considered a key factor in the success of the whole effort. For this purpose, a special information leaflet was published and distributed to farmers through their first-level trade union bodies (producer groups, etc.). Finally, for the purposes of information, an event was held.
For the further information of the employees of the municipality, innovation is disseminated within the organization through the use of communication networks, presentations, informational and service notes, the conduct of seminars, etc. Also through the use of social media and through the activities of the Press Office, innovation is communicated to the the Municipality of Almopia.
The Municipality of Almopia in the design of the project "wa-mbrella", and the submission of its proposal to a funding program collaborated with various stakeholders. In the application, there is cooperation with contractor - individual for the collection and management of empty packaging.
Financing and costs
The action was funded by the INTERREG IPA Cross Border Cooperation Program CCI 2014 TC 16 I5CB 009. The value of the bins is 30,000 euros, while the cost includes the cost for the contractor, which had a duration of 3 months and a value of 10,000 euros. For its development, 2 employees of the organization were employed for a period of 6 months and 1 external partner for a period of 1 year. For the operation of the action, 1 employee of the organization is employed for 16 hours on a monthly basis.
The biggest challenge for the success of the implementation of the action was to inform the farmers, who constitute the target group. To inform them, material and actions were used at the dissemination stage.
Assessment - description of the necessary conditions for success and sustainability of innovation
The main issue is the proper management of packaging after their collection. This work is done by a Contractor-Individual in the framework of a contract.
Experiences, thoughts, findings
The development and implementation of the action does not face any major problems and is considered particularly successful. Similar actions, which do not have a great cost but have a significant environmental benefit, could be disseminated to the rural municipalities of the country.
Institution: Municipality of Almopia
Level of governance: Local
Policy area: Environment
Design Year: 2019
Type of Innovation: Process design and redesign
Innovation Stage: Dissemination
Beneficiaries: General population, Special category: Farmers
Number of beneficiaries: Special categories: Farmers (Approx. 14,000), General population (28,000)
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