UNICEF, European Union and Government of Iraq Start 17M Euro

Basra’s First Landfill Site Compliant with International Environmental
Standards Completed; Basra Solid Waste Management Project Commences
Basra, 11 September, 2011. The first ever landfill site cell in Basra that is compliant
with international environmental standards has been completed and was today
handed over to Basra Governorate authorities. The opening of the cell marks the
commencement of the Basra Governorate Integrated Solid Waste Management
Master Plan, a component of the UNICEF programme supported by the European
Union to develop Iraq’s water and sanitation sector.
“The completion of this landfill site is a good start in our plans to create a cleaner and
more environmentally friendly governorate in the future” said the Governor of Basra,
Dr. Kalaf Abdul Samad. “Thanks to the support of UNICEF and the European Union,
we are now better prepared to ensure the regular collection of solid waste, sanitary
disposal of unusable waste, and recycling and reuse of waste, which will greatly
improve the public health and well-being of Basra’s citizens”.
To demonstrate the construction and operation of a landfill site according to
international standards, one of the Basra landfill site’s planned six cells was
constructed. The cell ensures that all environmentally harmful liquids are drained to
a safe area via a system of pipes so they do not seep into the soil and contaminate
the ground water. The cell also includes facilities to weigh and sort all solid waste so
it can be adequately disposed in the site. Following the same set-up procedures, the
remaining five cells of the landfill site will be constructed by the Government of Iraq in
the coming months.
“This landfill site cell is a milestone achievement in setting the highest standards to
safely dispose of waste and protect the environment in Iraq” said Attaché to the
European Union’s Delegation to Iraq, Mr. Anton Stemberger. “We encourage similar
sites to be built across Iraq and, via our project with UNICEF, will continue to support
the Government to do so.”
Basra’s average waste generation of 1,000 tonnes per day is currently scattered
throughout the governorate without adequate collection, separation or treatment.
None of the governorate’s nine existing solid waste disposal sites currently have
environmental monitoring mechanisms in place and ineffective waste removal
practices across Basra have resulted in dozens of unofficial sites, especially within
and around population centres. In nearly all unofficial sites, waste is sorted manually
and disposed of by methods that are harmful to the environment, such as burning. In
many cases, waste is also being collected by unofficial sources, including children
between the ages of 12-15 years old.
The overall solid waste management project in Basra will, in the short term, restore
efficient waste collection systems in Basra’s urban areas with the target of collecting
90% of all waste generated, create informal “recycling schools” that will enable
today’s child scavengers to both attend class and gain skills to work as professionals
in the solid waste management field when they are adults, and launch a campaign to
educate the public about effective waste disposal practices. In the long term, the
project plans to establish a regional treatment and disposal facility and initiate street
sweeping crews, among other initiatives.
“The implementation of this master plan will make Basra cleaner for its children,
contributing to the protection of their fundamental rights” said UNICEF Iraq’s Chief of
Water and Sanitation and interim Representative, Mr. Hrachya Sargsyan. “We will
continue to work with the Government, communities, families, and children to ensure
the plan is effectively implemented.”
In addition to the Basra master plan, UNICEF has developed the Duhok solid waste
master plan and is currently developing master plans in Anbar, Thiqar, Sulimaniyah
and Erbil governorates, which will all be completed by the end of 2011. UNICEF
plans to use these solid waste master plans as models to work with Iraq’s 12 other
governorates in developing their respective solid waste master plans in the coming
years. The development and implementation of solid waste master plans in all
governorates will be instrumental to attaining Iraq’s Millennium Development Goal 7
targets of ensuring environmental sustainability by 2015.
About UNICEF Iraq
UNICEF has been on the ground in Iraq since 1983 working to ensure Iraqi children
survive and realize their full potential. UNICEF is supporting the Government of Iraq
to develop child friendly policies, build the capacity of institutions that deliver
essential services to children, and convene all duty bearers to realize the full rights of
Iraqi children. Via a network of staff and partners, UNICEF’s programmes continue to
improve basic health services, safeguard a quality education, rebuild water and
sanitation systems, protect children from abuse, violence, and exploitation, and meet
the needs of the most vulnerable in crisis situations.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive
and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of
vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good
water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection
of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the
voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For
more information about UNICEF and its work visit: http://www.unicef.org.
About EU in Iraq
Helping Iraqi national efforts in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
which have a strong two-way link to the peace consolidation process is fundamental
for the EU. The EU’s objective for cooperation with Iraq has been to help Iraq
mobilise its own resources for recovery and development, with the support of the
international community. EU support to Iraq from 2003 to the end of 2010 amounts
to over 1 billion Euro targeting mainly the following sectors: basic services such as
education, health, water and sanitation, infrastructure; political and electoral process;
support to refugees and IDPs; rule of law; human rights; and capacity building of Iraqi
For further information please contact:
Jaya Murthy, UNICEF Iraq, +962796926190, [email protected]
Salam Abdulmunem, UNICEF Iraq, +9647809126782, [email protected]
Anton Stemberger, EU Iraq, [email protected]