Recycling in Romania: chaos, corruption and incompetence

We’re bottom of the European league table when it comes to recycling, but what they don’t know in Brussels is that even the shamefully low percentages we report every year seem to be a long way from reality. When you’re asked to recycle 50% of the waste you produce and you report 11%, who will question whether your embarrassing figure is accurate?

And the truth is that no one actually knows how much waste is recycled in Romania. The statistics compiled by the Environment Fund Administration and the National Environmental Protection Agency, the two central bodies that collect national waste processing data, differ by tens of millions of tons! No Romanian official seems to have raised an eyebrow at these glaringly obvious discrepancies. No one’s noticed, no one’s checked, and no one’s explaining.

Council officials around the country stare at documents in bewilderment. None of them have the guts to guarantee that the recycling figures they receive from rubbish collection firms are accurate. And these companies don’t want to explain how recycling rates of 60-70% are possible in a district where people say they don’t separate their rubbish.

It’s a mixture of corruption and incompetence that no one bothers to hide, or even could hide if they wanted to. The fields strewn with rubbish on the outskirts of built-up areas are plain enough to see. So are the sideways glances of the most senior state officials when we confront them with the chaos in their own statistics.

The video has English subtitles.

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