II. Main elements of EU environmental legislation embodied or becoming adopted in the national legal system
In this chapter:
Environmental rights and obligations are mentioned in several Articles of the Constitution. It stipulates: "The State and each individual must protect the environment from harmful influence (Article 53)". The Constitution also consolidates the duty of the state in this field: "The State shall concern itself with the protection of the natural environment, its fauna and flora, separate objects of nature and particularly valuable districts, and shall supervise the moderate utilization of natural resources, as well as their restoration and augmentation. The exhaustion of land and elements of the earth, water and air pollution, the production of radiation, as well as the impoverishment of fauna and flora, shall be prohibited by law (Article 54)".
These norms of the Constitution lay down the foundation for other laws dealing with environmental protection. The Environmental Protection Act, adopted in 1992, determines the principles of environmental protection which arise from the constitutional norms: "In the Republic of Lithuania, environmental protection shall be the concern and duty of the State and of each of its inhabitants. The policy and practice of the administration of environmental protection shall direct social and individual interests towards the improvement of environmental quality, and shall encourage the users of natural resources to seek ways and means to avoid or diminish any hazardous impact on the environment, and to make technological processes ecologically safe. Natural resources must be utilized in a rational and coordinated manner, taking into consideration the possibilities of preservation and renewal of nature, as well as the natural and economic specifics of the Republic of Lithuania. Environmental protection shall be based on comprehensive, correct and timely ecological information (Article 4)".
The Environmental Protection Act covers the following main issues:
- Principles and administration of environmental protection,
- The rights and duties of citizens and public organizations,
- Utilization and registration of natural resources,
- Regulation of economic activities,
- The economic mechanism of environmental protection,
- Liability for violation of the law,
- International cooperation in the area of environmental protection,
- System of monitoring the state of the environment,
- Restriction of negative effects on the environment.
The main environmental principles of the Treaty of Rome (1957) and the European Union Treaty (the Maastricht Treaty of 1992) are reflected in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (protection of public health, preservation and protection of the environment from harmful influences, assurance of prudent and rational utilization of natural resources); and the Environmental Protection Act (sustainable development, protecting and improving the quality of the environment, assurance of prudent and rational utilization of natural resources). The "Polluter Pays Principle" is noted down and used in the Act relating to Taxes on State-Owned Natural Resources and the Act related to Taxes on Environmental Pollution.
Council Recommendation 75/436/Euratom, ECSC, EEC - Polluter Pays Principle
The basic economic components of an environmental management system and the "Polluter Pays Principle" are defined in Article 28 of the Environmental Protection Act. It is determined that: "The ecological and economic interests of the State shall be coordinated through the economic mechanism of environmental protection, which consists of: taxes for the utilization of natural resources, charges for environmental pollution, regulation of credits, state subsidies, pricing policies, economic sanctions and compensation for damages, and other ecological taxes and measures". Article 32 provides for compensation and restoration in case of causing damage to the environment. The more detailed economic measures connected with environmental charges and fines are presented in the Act related to Taxes on State Natural Resources, the Act related to Taxes on Environmental Pollution, and in other legal acts and regulations. According to the Act related to Taxes on Environmental Pollution, charges for air emissions are paid according to the volume and environmental hazard level of the emission. The system of charges for pollution include both administrative and economic approaches to environmental management. The calculation of emission limits for the issuance of permits to enterprises is carried out according to environmental quality standards.
According to the act, seventy percent of charges are transferred to municipal environmental funds and thirty percent are transferred to the state budget. If limits are exceeded, economic sanctions are recovered from payees' surplus profits and are transferred to the State Fund for Nature Protection.
Council Directive 85/337/EEC - Environmental Impact Assessment
The existing EIA procedure in Lithuania is in most cases conceived as a part of land use planning. The main EIA requirements are set in Article 15 of the Environmental Protection Act, which requires the Ministry of Environmental Protection to evaluate the effect on the environment of proposed developments and other economic activities. Under the act, the approval of the ministry is needed for companies when starting economic activities. For activities possibly having an influence on the environment, companies shall obtain permit from the municipalities. The act also gives the public the right to request such evaluation and to participate in the EIA process.
Recently a draft framework law on EIA was prepared and submitted to the government for approval. This law satisfies the principal requirements of EU Directive 85/337. Only minor changes would be needed in the Lithuanian draft law on EIA in order to harmonize it with the current EU proposals to amend the directive. These changes could be made at the time of the first review of the law.
Council Directive 90/313/EEC - Access to environmental information
The principle of free access to environmental information is adopted in the Act related to Public Information (1990), and Articles 7 and 8 of the Environmental Protection Act (1992). Citizens and public organizations have the right to receive accurate and up-to-date environmental information, to take part in the discussion and implementation of programs and projects of economic activities, etc.
Council Regulation EEC/880/92 - Eco-label award scheme
The eco-labeling system in Lithuania is in its early stages at the present time. In 1995, the regulation of eco-labeling was approved by the MEP (Ordinance No. 81 of 05.05.1995). A project for the creation of a relevant structure was passed to the government, but has not yet been approved. The Joint Research Center of the MEP has begun to prepare testing procedures for industrial and manufactured products.
Council Regulation EEC/1973/92 - Financial Instrument for Environment ( LIFE )
There exist State and Municipal Environmental Funds in Lithuania. The Lithuanian State Fund for Environmental Protection falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environmental Protection. Fines for violation of environmental protection laws are allocated to this Fund, including penalties provided for in the Act related to Taxes on State Natural Resources and the Act related to Taxes on Environmental Pollution, violation of hunting rules, accidental discharges of pollutants into air or water, disposal of waste in prohibited places, damage to trees, etc. The State Fund's financial resources are allocated to three areas:
- min. 30 percent - compensation for damage caused to the environment, construction and supervision of environmental projects, elimination of environmental pollution sources, increase of natural resources;
- max. 30 percent - for bonuses to environmental employees and public volunteers.
- remaining resources - for drafting environmental protection programs and standards, ecological education, training, publishing, information, environmental impact assessment, acquiring technical equipment, etc.;
In 1991, the Municipal Funds for Environmental Protection were established. Generally, 70 percent of the revenues from pollution charges is directed to the Municipal Funds (while 30 percent is directed to the State budget). Each municipality is responsible for determining the allocation of expenditures within the following categories:
- min. 70 percent - for the construction, rehabilitation, maintenance and repair of damage to environmental objects;
- up to 20 percent - for health care for the population;
- remaining funds - for various activities, including environmental education and research work.
Further development of environmental funds and their regulation requires more close approximation with the Council Regulation 1973/92.
Council Regulation EEC/1836/93 - Eco-management and audit scheme
Eco-management and auditing, based on the experience of certain European countries, is only in its early stages in Lithuania. In the current economic climate in Lithuania, auditing is unlikely to be accepted by many enterprises, but in the medium to long term, it should play a very significant role in promoting environmental protection. Environmentally sound management and auditing must be encouraged, based on the EU Eco-management and Audit Scheme (current EU Regulation 1836/93), and will require technical assistance from foreign specialists and financial support.
Proposal for a Council Directive 93/C 31/106, Integrated pollution prevention and control
There is no Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control system in Lithuania at present.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection is responsible for the main trends of environmental policy, inter alia the field of air protection. Its functions and responsibilities are laid down in the Environmental Protection Act. Local governments are responsible for the implementation of the functions prescribed to them by law. One of the main legislative acts related to air protection is the Act related to Atmospheric Air Protection.
Adopted on June 19, 1981, the act is still in force in Lithuania. The main principles and measures of air protection management are consolidated in this act. It is scheduled to be reviewed, corrected and amended according to the new political, economic and social conditions. Lithuania still uses the former Soviet Union air quality standards. Some of these standards are stricter than EU standards. A detailed examination of the legislation, in relation to air quality standards and emission standards should be undertaken, with the purpose of focusing on the effective control of the key contaminants concerned.
Special regulations with respect to the permitting procedure, monitoring and data reporting, are directly related to, or contain air and emission regulations.
Maximum permissible concentrations of pollutants in the air (MAC) were approved by the Ministry of Health and came into force in 1993 (decision No. 6, 17.06.1993). In this document, the human protection values are expressed as mean 30 minute and mean daily concentrations. No mean yearly standards are set. According to the national definition, "ambient air" means the atmospheric air in the surroundings of human dwellings (excluding workplaces) being exposed to outdoor chemical, physical and biological factors.
Council Directive 70/220/EEC - Emissions from motor vehicles
Until now, emissions from motor vehicles have been regulated by applying former Soviet standards. The pollutants to be regulated: CO, CH - for gasoline, LPG, natural gas-powered engines, and smoke opacity - for diesel ones. Currently, the standards related to in-service emission limits are being reviewed, taking into account existing EU regulations, inter alia Directive 92/55/EEC.
Two regulations are scheduled to be introduced in January 1996:
- Regulations on CO and CH in-service emissions from Otto type engines, and relevant test procedures;
- Regulations on smoke capacity for diesel engines, and relevant test procedures.
No regulations on CO2 emissions or relevant testing procedures are anticipated.
No fuel incentives have been introduced in Lithuania, and taxes are imposed on vehicles. Vehicles equipped with catalytic converters are exempt from taxation on air pollution.
Council Directive 82/884/EEC - Lead in air
With respect to lead, one type of limit value in ambient air is established, that is a daily average concentration of 0.3 ug/m3 - which is stricter than the EU permissible annual mean value of 2 ug/m3. The methodology of sampling and analysis is not harmonized with the relevant requirements in EU countries. This needs to be carried out.
No long-term plans are foreseen to reduce lead emissions. In 1989, the government adopted a decision which obliged the Ministry of Energy to supply all gasoline users with unleaded fuel. However, because of the economic recession, this decision has not been implemented.
Council Directive 84/360/EEC - Industrial plants
The following main legal regulations concerning the prevention and reduction of air pollution from industrial plants and the energy sector are in use in Lithuania:
- Environmental Protection Act of the Republic of Lithuania, (adopted by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania - decision No 1-2223 of 21.01.1992);
- Act related to Atmospheric Air Protection (adopted by the Supreme Council on 19.06.1981, adjusted and amended on 01.05.1987);
- Regulations relating to the issuance of permits for use of natural resources and relevant limits, as well as the determination of emission rates into the environment (adopted by the Ministry of Environmental Protection - Ordinance No. 10 of 26.01.1995);
- Regulations relating to the intended objects of siting and project consideration (adopted by the MEP - Ordinance No. 73 of 01.05.199);
- Maximum permissible concentration of chemicals polluting atmospheric air of the surroundings of dwellings (HN 35-1993 - elaborated by the Hygienic Center and Ecological Medicine Center; confirmed by the MEP and the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development; approved by the Ministry of Health - Decision No. 6 of 17.06.1993).
The approach for emission standards in Lithuania is based on ambient air quality criteria and not on the BATNEEC principle. Using the latter principle, Lithuania has recently established new standards for combustion installations for heat and power generation, which are comparable with EU standards. The further implementation of BATNEEC is following the implementation of HELCOM recommendations, and is outlined in the National Environmental Strategy. There are no standards for CO2.
As was mentioned above, emission limits in the industrial sector are estimated on the basis of ambient air quality criteria and relevant rules are laid down in the regulations related to the issuance of permits (referred above). According to this principle, emission limits are estimated for each polluting source (for individual components), depending on the surrounding pollution level. In this respect, national regulations comply with Directive 84/360 EEC by which the activity of a plant shall not cause significant (above approved maximum permissible) pollution levels, and applicable air quality standards shall be met.
Both existing and intended plants are subject to the permitting (authorization) procedure regulated by the referred MEP Regulation. The latter also contains the structure of the application for the authorization of the relevant procedure. Regional Environmental Protection Departments (EPDs) are the competent authorities granting permits. The industries subject to authorization are designated by the referred MEP regulation, but local authorities have the right to expand this list.
Existing regulations on the permitting system are to be updated and are comparable with the main EU principles. In order to meet EU demands, it is required that Lithuania include a broad scope of environmental considerations and conditions in the environmental permitting procedure. The prepared draft of the Act on EIA foresees a wider possibility for public participation, as well as the right for both the applicant and the public to appeal against an official decision. The Act on EIA and its follow-up documents should establish the powers and procedures for enforcement, to ensure compliance with the granted permit. In practice, the main requirements of Directive 84/360/EEC and COM (93)230 for environmental permitting are evaluated in the existing national legal regulations. Furthermore, a wider circle of controlled substances and designated categories of industries exists in Lithuania.
Council Directive 89/369/EEC - New municipal waste incinerators
For the time being there are no municipal waste incineration plants in Lithuania, nor any clear policy on the treatment of waste, which is currently deposited in landfills. It is difficult to predict the terms of construction of such plants. Since this decision would be a new one for Lithuania, the process would be facilitated by introducing new requirements and regulations in respect to the authorization procedure, the equipment being used, operating conditions, control measures, and emission limits.
Council Decision 93/389/EEC - Monitoring mechanism of Community CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions
There are no emission standards provided by law for CO2 as yet, and consequently no monitoring and measurement instructions. As a party to the UNFCCC, Lithuania has prepared its National Implementation Strategy for the convention. This strategy was developed in compliance with the provisions of the Council Decision 93/389/EEC, especially as regards Article 2, though economic aspects of the measures planned were evaluated insufficiently. The main tasks under the Decision have been evaluated in the strategy, inter alia the demand for the stabilization of CO2 emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000. In the strategy, CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions were determined using the methodology and emission factors proposed by IPCC, as required by Article 3 of the Decision 93/389/EEC.
To implement the established tasks, amendments to the national legal regulations will be required. Thus, it is intended that these issues be included in the new Air Protection Act, and that the existing Act relating to Taxes on Environmental Pollution, and the existing regulations on the permitting system and data reporting be amended.
No greenhouse gas monitoring mechanism exists in Lithuania and it is expected to be introduced, though the exact date is uncertain.
Proposal for a Council Directive 94/C 216/04, Ambient air quality assessment and management
As mentioned above, ambient air quality assessment and management are regulated mainly by two laws: the basic Environmental Protection Act and the Act relating to Atmosphere Protection. Existing regulations on emission limit estimations, the permitting system, EIA procedure and data reporting, and the Act related to Taxes on Environmental Pollution, are legal instruments of air quality management. Existing methods of air quality assessment and management need to be improved with respect to monitoring, economic incentives and polluters' liability. The Air Protection Act and follow-up ordinances will cover these improvements.
There is no official classification of air quality in Lithuania as presented in Proposal 94/C216/04 as "good air quality", "improving air quality", or "poor air quality". The only air quality criteria are the maximum permissible concentrations (MAC). In Lithuania, only standards for ambient air in human settlements are set and approved. MAC are set for approximately 1500 substances. There are no emission standards for CO2. In order to obtain comparable results and to keep in tune with the EU approach, it is necessary to harmonize national standards with those of the EU, i.e. to adapt the basic concept of internationally relevant standards and to alternate the current ones and monitoring methods. Some of the provisions of Proposal 94/C216/04 are included into national legal regulations. For instance, Article 6 (General requirements) and Article 7, Par. 1, 2, 3b, 4 (Measures applicable in areas of poor air quality) are embodied in the Atmosphere Protection Act. Some of these are being implemented through the regulations on the permitting procedure, and through the regulations on the estimation of permissible emission rates. The necessity of measurement stations, their location, and choice of air quality assessment means that the location of sampling points, measuring techniques, etc. are defined depending on the local conditions, circumstances and possibilities - and not in accordance with the requirements of Directive 94/C216/04.
The existing system for the estimation of maximum permissible emission rates, together with the permitting system, allows planning of the measures needed to mitigate any harmful effects on the air, to ensure the ambient air criteria and foresee the mechanism for the implementation of the measures. Every existing enterprise submits its short term (approx. five year) action plan on emission abatement through the permitting procedure. All actions anticipated in the given region should ensure the ambient air criteria. Regional Environmental Departments are the authorities which carry out necessary evaluations, and which determine the maximum permissible emissions for certain enterprises. In some cases, temporal emission rates are approved and supplementary measures are required.
The principle of protecting public health and the environment against chemical substances is adopted in general in Article 20 of the Environmental Protection Act of the Republic of Lithuania. The production, transportation, use, storage, dumping and utilization of chemicals are covered by the act in general. According to the act, lists of toxic and injurious materials, which are prepared by the respective departments, shall be approved or renewed by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
Commission Directive 67/548/EEC - Classification, packaging and labeling of dangerous substances
In order to control the risks, classification and labeling under the "Order of Eco-labeling of products" is established, wherein some detailed requirements are laid down. There are three responsible authorities for chemicals control at the moment: the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture. The drafting of legislation to control the import of chemicals and products, their production, trade and use, has already begun. Public health is a basic criterion for setting priorities in environmental protection measures and for allocating the respective funds. It is expected that an integrated "Environmental and Health Information System" be established in order to evaluate public health-related problems.
The principles of Directive 67/548/EEC and the Amendment (Council Directive 79/831/EEC), which introduces a pre-market testing and notification system for new chemicals, are required for the national legislation to be brought in line with EU environmental legislation.
Council Directive 82/501/EEC - Industrial accidents and emergency response
Emergency Situations are incorporated in Article 24 of the Environmental Protection Act. According to the act, the government of the Republic of Lithuania and the local governments shall have the right to utilize special services, organizations and residents in order to eradicate the causes and consequences of ecological disasters, and to adopt decisions concerning the evacuation of inhabitants. In the event of an emergency situation, the performers of economic activities shall inform of and obey regulations established by the administration. Detailed regulations for the providing of information and training are established. It is important to harmonize national legislation with Council Directive 82/501 and with Directive 88/610/EEC, which lays down requirements for the detailed notification and informing of the public about accident hazards.
Council Decision 89/569/EEC - Good Laboratory Practice
Almost all applicable environmental quality norms applied in Lithuania are taken from the former Soviet Union. Concerning Good Laboratory Practices, the regulations applicable to laboratory practices in Lithuania are the "Quality Guide" and Program of Laboratory Quality Assurance. Some newly established and approved norms (e.g. maximum permissible concentrations of ambient air pollutants in residential areas) are actually a literal transcription of old Soviet norms. Current Lithuanian norms are rather strict and, in many cases, are more demanding than the environmental quality standards recommended by the EU. A characteristic feature of the Soviet norms is that they refer to hundreds of hazardous materials, a considerable number of which were never used, nor ever will be used in Lithuania. Furthermore, technical capacity is not available to control some of the pollutants to the levels specified in these norms. However, more stringent standards should be introduced only if they are realistic and achievable, having regard to public health and the environment. In 1994, a survey of air and water quality norms was carried out with the aid of foreign consultants. Based on this, new air and water quality standards are being established, as well as draft standards for waste water discharges and emission of hazardous materials, based on EC recommendations, but also recognizing the current monitoring capability in Lithuania. In 1996, a PHARE project is scheduled with the object of facilitating an approximation of Lithuanian environmental protection standards with EU Directives, during which all documents covering standards for environmental protection will be assessed and a detailed plan drafted for establishing and introducing new standards. One of the more significant documents on standards specifies the norms for pollutant emissions into the atmosphere from boilers fired by carbon-based fuels. The norms developed take into consideration the heat load of the boiler and the fuel used.
Council Directive 90/220/EEC - Genetically modified organisms
The order of registration of the sources of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other biological pollutants, their production, storage and treatment, importation and transportation, is approved under an MEP decree. Annex 3 includes an inventory of GMOs according to the requirements of EU legislation. The GMOs inventory includes general information: notification details, information about the reporter, the GMOs' characteristics, broad descriptions of GMOs, the geographical spreading of organisms, the natural medium of an organism, information about tracing and identification techniques, whether GMOs are classified according to the existing EU rules, etc. Council Directive 90/220/ EEC introduces a notification and permit system covering all genetically modified microorganisms, plants and animals through all the stages of release into the environment. It is of great importance to harmonize the national legal system with these EU requirements.
Council Regulation EEC/793/93 - Evaluation and control of the risks of existing substances
Lithuanian manufacturers of chemical substances are not obliged to report data to any authority about existing substances. There are no regulations applicable to risk evaluation, as defined in the Council Regulation 793/93/EEC. Drafting of legislation regarding chemicals and related products has already begun in Lithuania. The EC has a scheme for the testing of new chemicals for harmful effects before they are marketed. This scheme does not apply to "existing" chemical substances, i.e. those on the market before 1981. The collection and circulation of information on existing substances is required, but in voluntary form only.
The legal basis for nature conservation in Lithuania is to be reviewed and revised, if appropriate in the process of approximation with EU environmental legislation.
Council Directive 79/409/EEC - Conservation of wild birds
There are no separate regulations applicable to the conservation of wild birds in Lithuania similar to the referred council directive. The conservation of wild birds in Lithuania is regulated according to the Act relating to Fauna Protection and Use, which was adopted in 1987, and the Order and Regulations on the Red Data Book of Lithuania (1990). Regulations concentrate on both the conservation of species and the conservation of habitats. For the most part, ecological and scientific concerns are taken into account.
The hunting of wild birds and other animals is regulated according to Government Decision No. 1276 on Hunting Management in the Republic of Lithuania (1994) and Government Decision No. 371 on the Partial Change of Hunting Regulations in the Republic of Lithuania and the Confirmation of Hunting Rules in the Territory of Lithuania (1995). Lists of wild bird species for hunting in these documents are different from those in the annexes of Council Directive 79/409/EEC. Wild birds are divided into three categories in Lithuania: birds which are hunted (27 species), potential hunted birds (16 species), and the most important category of species which are not hunted, which are set down in the Red Data Book of Lithuania and are under strict protection (five species). There are no exemptions from these restrictions.
Council Directive 92/43/EEC - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora
The main objectives of biodiversity and sustainable development are included in the National Environmental Strategy. The principal long term goals in the protection of the biosphere and biodiversity are to prevent the further degradation of Lithuania's forest ecosystems and to optimize the forest structure, to conserve biodiversity, to prevent further extinction of flora and fauna (including micro-organisms, fungi, and wildlife species, populations and communities), and to prevent further degradation of ecosystems.
The conservation of species, communities and ecosystems is currently an urgent issue and forms one of the most important components of the program of preservation of biological diversity. A draft of the Act related to Protected Fauna, Flora and Mushroom Species and Communities has been prepared and passed to parliament (the Seimas) for adoption. The list of rare and threatened plants, mushrooms and animals is confirmed by Order of the Ministry of Environmental Protection in the Regulations of the Red Data Book for the Preservation of Rare Species of Animals and Plants and Species which are in Danger of Extinction. The Red Data Book lists these species, the description of their status and protection methods, and necessary measures to preserve and increase the species' populations. Activities which might cause the extinction of rare and/or endangered animals and plants or decreases in their populations - or which could have a negative impact on their habitat - are prohibited. There are several areas with special strict preservation status in Lithuania in which the necessary research and scientific work is carried out.
The level of noise in some urban areas is one of the major problems in Lithuania. The main source of noise in cities, especially in the centers, is automobile traffic. Almost any measure planned for the reduction of air pollution from traffic (introduction and enforcement of more stringent technical standards, restriction of traffic in old towns, more efficient enforcement of charges for car parking, development of public transportation systems, etc.) will have a positive effect on noise levels. This environmental field needs significant improvements and compliance with progressive technical decisions.
Council Directive 70/157/EEC - Permissible sound level and the exhaust system of motor vehicles
There is no production of any type of motor vehicle in Lithuania, consequently no regulations pertaining to the relevant industries were introduced. Furthermore, no national regulations and limits for sound levels were adopted for vehicles in service. The only document in use is the specification of hygienic norms regulating airborne noise. It sets limits for household sound levels as well as for those in work places. However, some indirect regulation of sound levels exists, since indoor values (inside of vehicles) are set, and consequently noise emitted by vehicle engines is indirectly required to be limited. In as far as no noise limits for motor vehicle exhaust systems are approved, no procedures for relevant measurements have been introduced.
Council Directive 86/594/EEC - Airborne noise emitted by household appliances
The noise levels of household appliances are mainly standardized in technical norms. No national regulations on this issue have been issued by environmental authorities. Household appliances produced in Lithuania are not labeled in this respect. A labeling requirement could be included in the intended Goods Safety Act; however the date of its adoption is not yet clear. There is very little information for the public concerning noise emitted by this type of equipment and a relevant information mechanism has not been established.
Waste management is incorporated in Article 23 of the Environmental Protection Act in the Republic of Lithuania. This article allows room for the "polluter pays" principle, because it is stated that "users of natural resources shall also be responsible for costs incurred in the management, storage, dumping and transportation of waste".
Council Directive 75/442/EEC - Waste Framework
The regulation of public relations in order to protect people and the environment against the negative impact of waste, by providing regulations for waste management and saving natural and raw resources, is the main goal of the Waste Management Act (draft) which has been prepared recently. Priorities in waste prevention according to the Waste Management Act (draft) ensure the introduction of waste-free technologies and use of recyclable packaging. The Waste Management Act is at the last consideration stage at present - i.e. it has been submitted to parliament (the Seimas) for adoption. The waste inventory and waste classification system are based on the Basel Convention on Hazardous Waste, International Transportation Control and International Waste Identification Codes. The reporting form is established in Lithuania (Annual statistical report, Waste treatment, Form 3-Waste). The major objectives in the management of waste are the reduction of waste volumes, collection of secondary raw materials, and the processing and disposal of the waste in a manner which is not harmful to the environment. Prioritized goals in waste management are: the reduction and treatment of industrial, hazardous and municipal waste, appropriate disposal of out-of-date pesticides, and prevention of radioactive waste entering into the environment. The modernization of industry, increasing awareness of the effects of waste and the introduction of new technologies is needed to reduce waste quantities and associated hazards in the future.
According to Article 13 of the draft Waste Management Act, waste administration shall be shared between the MEP and the Ministry of Trade and Industry according to their respective competence, also involving other ministries, municipal authorities and waste owners.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection shall:
- determine waste management requirements;
- prepare and coordinate regulations on administrative, economic and legal means of waste management, etc.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry shall:
- organize development and implementation of waste management programs;
- organize management of hazardous waste;
- organize management of secondary raw materials, etc.
- implement public waste programs, prepare waste management plans and implement them, etc.
For approximation with EU legislation, Lithuania needs to consider four main mandatory elements:
- competent authorities with responsibility for waste are to be appointed;
- waste disposal plans, to be prepared by these competent authorities;
- permits from the competent authorities are to be obtained by installations or undertakings handling waste;
- the "polluter pays" principle is to be applied.
Council Directive 85/339/EEC - Containers of liquids for human consumption
In order to reduce waste from packaging, some voluntary agreements exist between the government and the industry. Measures for reduction of the quantity of beverage containers are under discussion at governmental level. Education of consumers is not yet organized, but a primary collection system and some recycling possibilities are established. For approximation with EU legislation, the legislative and administrative measures to be taken include:
- consumer education;
- facilitating refilling and recycling;
- selective collection and recovery of non-refillable containers;
- maintaining and increasing the proportion of refilled and recycled containers used.
Budgets for the production of containers and collection of recyclable waste were foreseen in the Program on Waste Recycling, approved by the government in 1994. No funds were allocated for this purpose in 1995. This activity is now financed by municipal funds, which are insufficient. The government should allocate the necessary funds for the implementation of the program in 1996.
Council Directive 91/689/EEC - Hazardous waste
In addition to general waste regulations, the Lithuanian government has adopted the "Hazardous waste management program" (Decision No. 98 of 22.02.1993). The first tasks of the program are the setting up of temporary storage sites for hazardous waste and the selection of sites.
The management of hazardous waste is made more difficult by the absence of appropriate legislation. There is no legal or precise definition of hazardous waste, two separate classification systems being in use, and there are no guidelines or rules for hazardous waste storage and disposal. These legal acts should be prepared within the framework of the Standards Harmonization Project, and should be based on EU directives. For the use of natural resources and for water and air pollution, a company must prepare an ecological scheme in order to obtain a permit. This permit is issued every year. Concerning hazardous waste management, reporting is required. For the reduction and treatment of hazardous waste Lithuania requires the following legal measures:
- preparation and enforcement of taxes on hazardous waste generation and disposal (the question is currently under discussion at governmental level);
- preparation of regulations on the production, import, trading, use and handling of hazardous materials and products, including the register of hazardous products (within the framework of the Standards Harmonization Project);
- ratification of the Basel Convention and preparation of rules for waste import/export (documents acceding the Basel Convention are under preparation; waste import/export is regulated by the permitting system established by the MEP).
Council Directive 94/67/EC - Incineration of hazardous waste
Hazardous waste represents a serious environmental problem in Lithuania. At present, it is deposited in existing landfills for household waste, stored in factories or even buried in the environment, and represents a major risk to public health and the environment. In the course of the study, data on hazardous waste generation was collected and classified according to treatment and disposal methods. A centralized hazardous waste treatment system was proposed. The proposed system includes an incineration plant with a capacity of 40 thousand tons/ year. Bearing in mind the present economic situation in Lithuania, the implementation of the system without considerable foreign financial support hardly seems possible.
The objective of Directive 94/ 67/EC is to minimize the environmental impact of the incineration of hazardous waste. The absence of incinerators makes this directive inapplicable under Lithuanian conditions at the moment.
Proposal for a Council Directive 93/C 212/02, Landfill of waste
Existing legal documents on waste storage and landfills in Lithuania are as follows:
- Conditions for Choosing a Site for a Solid Waste Landfill (Government Decision No. 265 of 08.08.1990);
- Conditions for Choosing Temporary Storage Facilities for Dangerous Waste (approved by the MEP, No. 04/3-323 of 12.03.1991, and the Ministry of Health, No. 3-10-806 of 12.03.1991);
- Temporary Exploitation and Recultivation Rules for Solid Waste Landfills (approved by the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development, Ordinance No. 41 of 23.11.1995).
The project entitled: "Registration of Waste Sites with Chemical Waste in Lithuania and Preparation of Legal Provisions for Cleaning Up" was approved in 1992. The main components of the project are as follows:
- registration of waste sites containing chemical waste;
- development of risk evaluation system;
- evaluation of risks to land use;
- classification of sites;
- study on the review of existing legal background, preparation of guidelines for future legal aspects in order to facilitate clean-up: 636 sites were registered based on information from the municipalities (completed in 1993);
- ground and surface water pollution caused by sites (based on existing data).
The contamination of land by toxic substances, with the resulting pollution of soil and ground water, remains a major problem in some areas of Lithuania. Both civil and military sites have been studied, including landfills, industrial sites and former Soviet military bases. An inventory of contaminated sites has been compiled, but very little clean-up undertaken because of a lack of funds. The further factor restricting progress in the clean-up is the lack of standards and norms for ground water, surface water and soil pollution.
The most important legal document in Lithuania governing the spheres of water use and water protection is the Water Code, adopted in 1972. The goals of the Water Code are to regulate water use, ensure the rationality of water use, and protect water from contamination. The state management and protection of water in Lithuania is carried out by the government of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Geological Survey of Lithuania and the municipalities. The major functions of regulating water use, water monitoring and water protection are carried out by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and its subdivisions - the Regional Departments. The Geological Survey of Lithuania carries out regulation of ground water according to the Water Code, the Environmental Protection Act (1992) and the Act related to the Composition of the Earth, adopted in 1995. Water use norms, which were confirmed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (Order No. 76, June 8, 1991), and adjusted by the Ministry of Urban Affairs and Construction (Order No. 79, June 24, 1991), are mandatory for all organizations which design, manage, construct or utilize a water supply, sewage, water preparation or water treatment equipment or systems.
In general, there are many details in Lithuanian national regulations which should be harmonized to correspond to EU Directives in the field of water protection and management.
Council Directive 75/440/EEC - Surface water for drinking
The Water Code states that drinking water can be taken from those bodies of water where the water quality meets established sanitary requirements. Lithuania utilizes only ground water for drinking. For this reason, Council Directive 75/440/EEC is of little importance for Lithuania.
In 1994, the requirements for quality of drinking water were approved by the Ministry of Health with the consent of the MEP (Sanitary Norms for Human Use of Water - HN 48-1994). There are physical, chemical and microbiological parameters determined in the norms regarding water for drinking, bathing, recreation and treatment. The number of substances included in the list of Norms is 1247. Sampling operations and inspections are carried out by district sanitary centers according to prepared plans for inspection and monitoring. The Ministry of Health is organizing the specification of drinking water quality norms as a separate legal document. The enforcement of the existing Norms for Human Use of Water is rather low, at present, because of a lack of analytical equipment in the control laboratories.: constant analytical control chemical parameters from more than 1000 included in the list.
Council Directive 76/160/EEC - Quality of bathing water
There is no separate legal act for bathing water in Lithuania. For this purpose, there are the same Sanitary Norms as mentioned above.
Council Directive 76/464/EEC - Dangerous substance discharges
Dangerous substance discharges into surface waters and into sewerage systems are regulated in Lithuania according to the rules approved by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (Order No. 10, January 26, 1995). The lists I and II of dangerous substances presented in the Annex of Council Directive 76/464 are rather similar to those used in Lithuania. However, there are some differences which should be discussed during the process of approximation of legal documents.
Council Directive 80/68/EEC - Protection of groundwater against pollution
There is no separate legal act on the protection of groundwater against pollution in Lithuania.
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