Research on COVID-19 Epidemic Impact on Environment in Ukraine Presented in Lviv and Poltava

Preliminary research findings and practical recommendations of the project “Study of the COVID-19 Epidemic Impact on the Environment in Ukraine” implemented by the NGO “Zero Waste Lviv” (Lviv) in partnership with the NGO “Ekoltava” were presented in Poltava and Lviv. The presentation was held jointly with the sociological firm “Fama” (Lviv) and with the expert support of the organization “Zero Waste Europe” (Brussels).

On October 13, in Poltava, in the comfortable space of the Local Coffee House summer terrace, Iryna Myronova of the NGO “Zero Waste Lviv” and Maryna Tsygryk (NGO “Ekoltava”) shared interesting research findings. Margaryta Mostova moderated the presentation and dialogue with business and community representatives.

“As far as problem issues are concerned, the situation in Poltava was no different. In terms of decision making, Poltava local authorities were more conservative, they were not as valiant as Lviv local government bodies, which, in fact, is very sad for all of us. And even the study itself has proven that when we addressed the local authorities for help and for consultations, they were not interested in cooperation. Sadly, our government bodies are not ready yet, said Maryna Tsygryk, executive director of the Ecoltava NGO.

On October 15, in Lviv, a presentation and discussion of preliminary results of the “Study of the COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on the Solid Waste Generation” was held. The project findings were presented by Iryna Myronova (NGO “Zero Waste Lviv”) and Maryana Malachivska (Fama Research Agency).

As part of the research, the project team has accomplished the following:

  • Collected initial information on status of waste processing in monitored cities (Lviv, Truskavets, Poltava, Myrgorod).
  • Conducted a morphological study of solid waste in Lviv and Poltava, as well as expert review of the solid waste structure.
  • Conducted 34 in-depth interviews with representatives of government bodies, solid waste carriers, owners of recycling centers, public catering facilities and retailers.
  • Performed a content analysis of media reports on the correlation between the topics of quarantine and waste processing in the period from April 1 to April 30, 2020.
  • Performed an analysis of protocols of Industrial Environmental Safety and Emergency Response in surveyed cities and resolutions of the Ministry of Health to regulate the operations of restaurants, retail trade businesses, hotels, beauty parlors and hairdressers.
  • Conducted an analysis of best practices identified internationally to respond to pandemic challenges.

“In Lviv, we actually worked a lot to reduce a number of waste that cannot be recycled. In particular, I would like to mention our leading campaign “Without Polyethylene” to reduce the use of plastic bags, which was quite successful. Therefore, when we saw that with the onset of the pandemic the quantity of solid waste has started growing, we wanted to understand what was going on in that sector at that time”, said Iryna Myronova, head of the NGO “Zero Waste Lviv”. – “One of the waste carriers had informed us back in April that, on the one hand, in Lviv downtown area, where the majority of hotels and restaurants are located, the amount of waste decreased, on the other hand, in the residential sector, the amount of waste in waste containers increased. Therefore, one of the goals of this project was to investigate what exactly has happened to waste during the pandemic, in comparison with the international best practices, and to develop recommendations for waste management during the pandemic”.

“In the process of research, we were faced with the challenge of waste accounting: it was almost non-existent. Even if the waste accounting is present, the utilized methodology would be different and inconsistent, making it virtually impossible to perform a quantitative analysis. The collected qualitative information is based on expert interviews with representatives of local self-government bodies (LSGB) and transport companies. In parallel, the morphological waste analysis was performed. Based on the data received, we were able to identify those soft spots and develop our recommendations for local self-government bodies”, – said Maryana Malachivska, executive director of Fama Custom Research Agency.

You can watch the presentation following the link below.

Based on the processed materials and the obtained data, the project team has come up with the following recommendations:

Recommendations for data collection:

  1. Improve the collection of data on solid waste generated in the city, in particular:
  2. volume of waste generated
  3. mass of waste generated
  4. mass of waste handed over to landfills, composting or further processing
  5. waste systematized by waste generators: waste collected separately from citizens and business
  6. data on the collected recyclable materials by fractions
  7. morphological composition of solid waste collected from different generators
  8. list of organizations engaged in operations with solid waste, oversized waste, hazardous waste (waste carriers, sorting stations of various forms of ownership, collection points for recyclable raw materials, collection points for hazardous and oversized waste, composting stations, organizations that manage landfills)
  9. Ensure the openness of such data.

Recommendations on solid waste collection

  1. Introduce separate collection of organic waste and create opportunities for centralized and decentralized composting or anaerobic digestion to produce biogas.
  2. Improve the system of separate collection of recyclable materials around the waste bin areas near residential buildings.
  3. Expand the network of collection, repair and disposal of oversized waste.
  4. Expand the network of hazardous waste collection and disposal.
  5. Ensure uninterrupted operation of recycling points and organizations engaged in handling and collection of hazardous waste, and repair shops for household items (sewing, repair of clothing and footwear, furniture, repair of equipment, etc.). To regulate their work by a separate protocol.
  6. Conduct information campaigns for residents on waste management.

Recommendations on personal protective equipment (PPE)

  1. Encourage residents without ARI symptoms to use reusable masks.
  2. Do not encourage residents to use disposable gloves as a substitute for hand washing and / or disinfection.
  3. Dispose of disposable PPE from the population in containers for mixed waste in accordance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources. For a more detailed analysis of the protocols, see here.

If you wish to receive the information materials and join the discussion, write to us at with the subject of the letter “I want to receive the materials of the research”.

If you have questions or comments regarding the project, please contact Diana Popfalushi, Zero Waste Lviv communicator at +380634261703,

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