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Project Description

Full Project Title: 

Disposal of PCB Wastes in Romania

Project number:

GF/ROM/07/001

Starting date:

 January 2007

Duration:

 2 years

Total Project Budget:

 2,025,000 U$

Counterparts: National Research-Development Institute for Environmental Protection - ICIM

Project Description

Rationale

The National Implementation Plan (NIP) for the Stockholm Convention for Romania identified the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) issues as one of the top priorities requiring immediate attention and action. The confidence on UNIDO assistance in the development of the NIP and its action plans provided the rationale to continue the PCB-related activities with a Medium Sized Project (MSP).

The GEF grant through this proposed project will consolidate ongoing and baseline activities of the government towards the implementation of its obligations for PCBs elimination. The project will demonstrate the implementation of locally viable and environmentally sound PCB control measures and their incorporation into a national policy framework. Ultimately, this will facilitate the sustainable reduction of PCBs in Romania through a subsequent scaling-up demonstration, so that a more efficient and cost-effective approach for PCB destruction will be available for PCB owners.

The country needs the necessary infrastructure to manage PCBs and PCB-containing equipment in an environmentally sound manner.  There are no specialized PCB treatment disposal facilities in the country.  In this regard, there is a well-recognized need to increase awareness and to train government officials and specialists from industries on criteria for environmentally sound management, including final disposal, of POPs as waste in the context of the Stockholm and Basel Conventions.  The country has little experience in the practical management of PCBs. Although several international and local companies have disposed of limited volumes of PCB containing equipment, there has been no government-driven national or local management plans implemented.

 Project Objectives

The objective of the project is to overcome the current barriers, which impede the implementation of the PCB-related obligations under the Stockholm Convention in Romania. The MSP foresees the strengthening of an environmentally sound management (ESM) system of PCBs based on a consensus between relevant government authorities, private and public sectors and NGOs. The project will create a sound environment for all PCB-related activities. The aim is that all activities should be undertaken in a controlled and coordinated manner by protecting human health and the environment from the harmful effects of PCBs. The GEF resources will be used to establish the necessary environment for the implementation of the ESM and to develop a sustainable mechanism to complete the PCBs disposal in the country.  Global significance is that the lessons learned in the project can be replicated in other countries having similar barriers in meeting their obligations under the Stockholm Convention.

 Project Outcomes

The main outcome of the project will be the increased national capacity to manage PCBs in an efficient and environmentally sound manner, including human capacity, improved regulations, financing options and physical facilities management of PCB. It will be achieved through the development of a nationwide ESM system, which mobilizes all concerned parties to participate in implementing the PCB related obligations under the Stockholm Convention and facilitates their participation by improving the regulation, increasing awareness, establishing a financial mechanism for phase out and disposal of PCB and PCB wastes, demonstrating the system at selected regions and training local specialists in different aspects of PCB management.

The ESM system will include:

- a relevant regulation updated according to the obligation under the Stockholm Convention, European Union directives, and other international environment-related instruments/agreements;

- a detailed guidelines for managing PCBs, PCB-containing or PCB-contaminated equipment and wastes;

- a resource mobilization mechanism for owners of PCBs and PCB wastes;

- the availability of trained specialists; and

-  improved monitoring and demonstration facilities, etc.

Project implementation will raise awareness concerning PCBs, assist in developing safety measures for personnel servicing of PCB-containing equipment, prevent further contamination of equipment and environment by PCBs, provide the environmental authorities with capabilities for environment monitoring and management at the national and local levels.  The preliminary inventory of PCBs conducted during the Enabling Activities project showed the scope of problems in Romania and the treatment of this POP was given the top priority in the NIP.  However, a more detailed ownership, concentrations, locations and present conditions of PCB wastes and PCB-containing equipment need to be identified to define the safe and most economical technology disposal and treatment options.

Field implementation of the ESM system in selected demonstration areas will lead to:

- develop a detailed PCB inventory of the electrical equipment, articles and wastes;

-  upgrade laboratory capacity to analyse PCBs in oils and soil;

- establish a database on the electrical equipment, which is in a most critical condition;

- establish proper interim storage locations for the equipment withdrawn from use; and

- reduce risks for environmental pollution through phasing out and disposal.

Pilot disposal operations and the countrywide inventory estimates will assist the government to allocate the necessary resources for the implementation of all requirements under the Stockholm Convention concerning the full-scale and safe disposal of PCBs in Romania.

The project will also provide a replicable model of cooperation between the government, public and private entities in addressing global environmental challenges.

The Government of Romania through the Ministry of Environment and Water Management (MEWM) nominated the National Research-Development Institute for Environmental Protection (ICIM) to be the National Executing Agency (NEA) and to provide coordinating activities at the country level.  The institute expertise has been proven through their leading role in the country during the development of the NIP.  Task teams will be established for the implementation of the activities of the project.  The Project Steering Committee (PSC) will undertake project related decisions and evaluations at the country level.  The overall implementation of the project will be supported and monitored by UNIDO.