Environment Sector in Montenegro
Montenegro estimates that in the environmental sector, the total cost of harmonization with the EU standards by 2035 will amount to 1.42 billion EUR. Montenegro will need to cover these costs mainly from its own funds. In order to do so, Montenegro made a commitment to establish an Eco-Fund by August 2018. The goal is to ensure a continuous funding of preparation and implementation of programs, projects and activities in the fields of environment protection, energy efficiency and sustainable use of renewable energy sources. Loans from development banks and international financial institutions, accompanied by IPA and other EU funds (available mainly after the EU accession) are additional sources of financing. Montenegro is committed to continuing reforms within Chapter 27 of the EU negotiation process, which could be opened in the first half of 2018. The biggest challenges include waste and water management, air quality and introduction of renewable energy sources. Due to these circumstances, Montenegro has a clear need for cleantech solutions and know-how in the near future.
Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism (MSDT) is the entity responsible for environment protection activities in Montenegro. In 2016, Montenegro adopted the "National Strategy with Action Plan for Transposition, Implementation and Enforcement of the EU Acquis on Environment and Climate Change" for the period 2016-2020. All proposed joint measures aim at supporting the acceleration of the process of alignment in the environment and climate change sectors and thus at creating the conditions for successful negotiations within Chapter 27. By the end of 2017, 40% of the obligations related to this strategy remained unrealized.
IPA projects were used in several occasions in this sector. Thus, “The establishment of the NATURA 2000 ecological network“ project started in 2016 and is expected to be finalised in 2018. Other IPA projects related to air quality, waste management and wastewater management are either ongoing or expected to start in 2018.
Air quality and industrial pollution
Montenegro is the fifth most polluted country in Europe with 24.3 micrograms of fine part particulate matters per cubic meter and the city of Pljevlja is among the most air polluted cities in Europe.
Montenegro started with improvements in the field of air quality by adopting its first "National Strategy on Air Quality Management" for the period 2013-2016, together with its action plan. In 2018, preparation of the "Draft Law on Climate Protection" is planned. Furthermore, complete establishment of a fully functional national system for monitoring, reporting and verification in the field of climate change and in line with EU regulations is needed.
The economic impact of air emissions is large and complex. It is estimated that 111.7 million EUR are needed for alignment with the EU standards within this area. This estimate does not include potential investments into the Thermal Power Plant Pljevlja, the Aluminium Plant in Podgorica and the Steel Company Niksic as the major pollutants in Montenegro. These factories are required to obtain a licence for integrated pollution prevention and control which will limit their further pollution of environment. The ecological overhaul of the Thermal Power Plant Pljevja is estimated to cost around 40 million EUR.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for the preparation of environmental reports and managing the national network of air quality monitoring stations. There is a plan to expand the number of stations within the network, to relocate the existing measuring points, as well as to buy spare equipment for these purposes.
Water and wastewater management
In 2016 the "Law on Municipal Wastewater Management" was adopted, setting deadlines for the construction of the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and collector systems. The "Strategic Master Plan for Sewerage and Waste Water in Central and Northern Region of Montenegro" and the "Master Plan for Waste Water Management on the Coast of Montenegro and in Cetinje Municipality" were adopted by the Government in 2005 and their revision started in 2017.
Of the total population of Montenegro, 75% have access to drinking water and 69% to purified water. In urban areas, 67% of households are connected to a sewerage system, and of all households, 42%. Only 28% of waste water is treated in urban areas and 18% looking at the whole country. At the moment, there are 6 wastewater treatment plants with secondary treatment in Montenegro (Budva, Podgorica, Mojkovac, Zabljak, Niksic and the joint plant of Kotor and Tivat). In Podgorica, the WWTP is not in line with the EU standards. The construction of a sewerage and water supply network in Bar has already started, as well as the preparatory activities for the construction of wastewater treatment plant in Podgorica, which will cost around 50 million EUR. In cooperation with the Centre for International Cooperation of Slovenia, the construction of the waste water treatment plants in Vranjina and Savnik are ongoing. German Development Bank KfW supported the construction of the WWTP in Tivat and Kotor, as well as the construction of water supply and sewerage network in Herceg Novi. In 2016, implementation of the IPA project "Improvement of water supply system and construction of a system for waste water treatment and sewage networks in Berane" started, with the total value of 11 million EUR.
Given the importance of tourism in Montenegro, water supply and waste water treatment are absolute priorities. The target is to have 32% of population covered by the processing of municipal waste water and 80% of the population connected to a sewerage network in urban settlements by 2020. At the same time, the coastal municipalities should be fully equipped with appropriate infrastructure. 2029 was set as a target for having all settlements over 2,000 inhabitants equipped with waste water treatment plants. 822.7 million EUR are needed for alignment the with EU standards in the water and wastewater management area by 2035. Funding for improvements in this sector should come mainly through loans.
Waste management represents one of the key challenges in the process of alignment with the EU standards, and special efforts will be focused on resolving all problems in this area. It is estimated that 354.8 million EUR are needed for this purpose.
The "Law on Waste Management" was adopted in 2016, and its provisions provide for successful implementation of the "Action Plan of the National Waste Management Plan in Montenegro" for the period 2015-2020.
In 2016, public waste management companies in Montenegro collected 280,988t of municipal waste. There are around 155 medium and large unregulated landfills in Montenegro, amounting to more than half of total waste ending up at these landfills. To prevent this behaviour, targets for waste collection in 2017 were to have between 65% and 95% of waste collected, depending on the municipality. The recycling rate of household waste is low and the goal was set to reach 25% by the end of 2017.
As regards recent infrastructural projects, the transfer station and the recycling yard in Zabljak were built, as well as the recycling yard in Podgorica. In the municipality of Kotor, the first compost plant in Montenegro was opened, in order to address the issue of green waste management in neighbouring municipalities. The construction of a leachate treatment plant at the landfill “Livade” in Podgorica has been completed. Ongoing rehabilitations of non-sanitary dump sites in Bar and in Cetinje, with the total value of 4.5 million EUR and 1.5 million EUR respectively, are part of IPA projects.
Montenegro will continue to create conditions for the construction of infrastructure, including regional recycling centres, recycling yards, transfer stations, rehabilitation of non-controlled dump sites and composting plants. The final objective is to have a system for selective collection of waste until the end of 2020 in all municipalities. Montenegro expects to cover part of the investment costs in this sector from donations.
International financial institutions are present in Montenegro. The World Bank is supporting Montenegro with the loan of 50 million EUR through the project "Industrial Waste Management and Cleansing" tackling industrial pollution, while EBRD is planning to support Montenegro through different projects in the area of green economy.