“What lovely weather. Should I go for a walk and enjoy the sun? I definitely should!”, I thought to myself as I watched the sun rays touch the ground that was dry for almost a week already. There hadn’t been a single drop of water on it.

“I miss the smell of the rain”, I said out loud.

“You should!”, all of a sudden sarcastically replied my older sister sipping her caramel latte.

“Why though?”, I wondered.

“Because all you can smell outside is the annoying smell of burnt waste. EVERYWHERE around the neighbourhood!”, she said.

I couldn’t hide my frustration when I quickly opened the window to check out what my sister just told me. And indeed. All I could smell was the fishy, nasty smell of burnt garbage.

“Ewww”, I said.

The mere thought of burning the garbage brings annoyance. I mean, THAT smell. I wonder If it’s legal. Without wasting time, I grabbed my laptop and searched for some information on the topic. Lucky me! The Ministry of Environment in Armenia has just announced a new legislative package for burning waste and as a part of the fight against air pollution, people who burn the waste will be fined.  The fine will start from 50.000 up to 800.000 AMD.

According to the new draft law, it is proposed to impose a fine on burning the waste generated from production, consumption and the falling of leaves. These actions will be warned or fined in the amount of 50․000 AMD for the citizens and in the amount of 200.000 AMD for the officials. Besides that, the problem of burning production or consumption waste in unlicensed landfills will not be ignored. In this case, citizens will be fined in the amount of 100.000 AMD and officials will be fined for 400.000 AMD. If the violation is repeated within a year after the fine is imposed, the fine will already be 200.000 AMD for the citizens and 800.000 AMD for officials.

This is a new possibility for preserving the environment and it can significantly improve the quality of air both in the capital city and throughout the country.

“Finally!”, I said out loud, letting my sister add something else on the topic.

“Moreover”, she said, “Do you know how other countries fight against this problem?”

I had no idea, so I simply nodded “no”.

My sister went on:

“In Indonesia, for example, people can trade garbage/waste for free health care. Clinics take the trash from people and sell it to recyclers. The money collected from recyclers is then spent on giving people basic health insurance”.

This was a surprise for me!

“Why don’t we do that in Armenia as well?!”, I said.

“Well, I guess that could be your first suggestion when you become a member of Parliament in the future!”, my sister said.

“Now I have more motivation to go after my dream job!”, I added with a big smile on my face.

Written by Nellie Melkonyan