Breath of fresh air for Lugansk
The municipality of Lugansk took an environmental hotspot - a landfill with over three million tons of waste - and turned it into an opportunity. They cleaned it up, established a system to capture the methane emitted from the landfill, and are now burning the methane gas as a way to reduce overall green house gas emissions. In the future, it could also be used to generate electricity for local use.
"What was once a large garbage dump is now a grassy area, with an energy source that can be used in the future," said former Minister for Regional Development, Construction and Housing Anatoliy Blyznyuk.
The flare burns methane, which has a global warming potential 22 times higher than carbon dioxide. Burning the methane – which is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide – is expected to reduce greenhouse emissions by approximately 125,000 tons.
- Ukraine is among the top 20 carbon dioxide emitters globally.
- The flare burns methane, which has a global warming potential 22 times higher than carbon dioxide.
- It is estimated that the methane emissions from landfills in Ukraine totals 934,000 tons.
- Burning the methane – which is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide – is expected to reduce greenhouse emissions by approximately 125,000 tons.
"That is important not just for environmental but economic reasons too," said Minister Bliznyuk.
The project is the first in Ukraine to make use of the market-based mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol that allow developed countries to meet their emission caps by purchasing carbon credits from developing country projects that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
"The Lugansk landfill project is a wonderful example of turning waste into energy, of turning a bad situation into a forward looking, low-carbon economic opportunity," said UNDP Country Director in Ukraine Ricarda Rieger.
"This project is very important because it is a pilot project," said Minister Bliznyuk. "There were no projects like this in Ukraine before."
The UNDP-supported project provides a model for other municipalities in Ukraine to take a similar approach. With Ukraine already among the top 20 carbon dioxide emitters globally, it is estimated that the methane emissions from landfills in Ukraine totals 934,000 tons (1990).
"We have been working on this project for four years. In Ukraine we did not have the knowledge and expertise needed to address landfills, and how to use biogas," said Lugansk Landfill Gas Recovery project manager Alexander Severin.
"Thanks to all the project partners, we learned how to do this. We also invested funding, as did the government, established a system to capture the biogas, cleaned the landfill and completed the facility that we launched today."
"To achieve a low-carbon sustainable society, we need actions at all levels, at the national level, the sub-national level, and the local level," said Ms. Rieger. "This project demonstrates the importance of initiatives being implemented at all levels in helping to combat climate change."
"The Lugansk landfill project is a wonderful example of turning waste into energy, of turning a bad situation into a forward-looking, low carbon economic opportunity," said UNDP former Deputy Regional Director Jens Wandel.
Lugansk is one of the industrial regions of Ukraine where environmental pollution is on the scale of an ecological disaster. The combination of intensive urbanization, high levels of industrial pollution from energy- inefficient mining, chemical and metallurgical plants and lack of financing for environmental programmes have made this region particularly vulnerable.
Project partners include the Lugansk Regional State Administration, local project developer "Nadra Luhanshchyny," and UNDP, through its Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Carbon Facility. The Lugansk Landfill Gas Recovery project is part of the Sustainable Development Programme of the Lugansk oblast – a UNDP project implemented jointly with Lugansk Oblast State Administration and Lugansk Municipality.