20 Feb 12 / 12:21:05

Reaction to article: Secret Waste Imports Alarm Albania’s Greens

Ermal DIZDARI, Advisor of the Minister for Media

Dear Mr. Likmeta,

We have regretfully noticed that in the article that bears your name and that of the agency which you represent, you have stated that the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Water Administration of the Republic of Albania was not able to give reasons regarding the amount of hazardous waste coming in from France in 2004.

I quote: "The Ministry of Environment was also unable to say whether it had any record of who imported this large quantity of waste, what the reason for it might have been, or whether it had any adverse effect on the environment."

 I use the word regretfully because at the moment that you asked information regarding the topic, I have been willing and eager to provide it for you. Also, I replied to your inquiry asking you to better specify your requests. Meanwhile, I started to ask for the required information in the relevant and appropriate structures.

It is important to note that a case like this, which has happened in 2004 and which according to your claim could possibly be an illegal activity from both the French and the Albanian side, can’t realistically be answered in so short time.

In this regard your behavior is not at all correct, given that you asked the information on 09.02.2012 and the next day (10.02.2012) you wrote on your site that “the MoEFWA is not able to …….”. I am sorry to say, but this is unfair and shows lack of professionalism.

It is also important to keep in mind that, at the moment that you have sent a request for information to an official Albanian government address, automatically you are involved in the legal provisions provided by the Law no. 8503, dated 30.06.199 “On the right of access to official documents”.

 Article 11 “Deadline for response” of this law states that:

“The public authority fulfills the request within 40days of its submission, except when otherwise provided in this law”.

Lastly, the Basel Convention is applied to all waste and its movement across borders. So this convention deals with non hazardous waste as well. Under the Y17 code waste are not necessarily hazardous as long as they do not have the characteristics described under the Annex III of the Basel Convention as toxic, acidic, etc. This is also explained by the European Code of Waste.

While, the published article considers all these waste as completely hazardous. This is again a sign of the lack of professionalism on your side. When news like this which has not been confirmed completely hits the web, it touches and diminishes the integrity and trust of the Albanian institutions.

Again, I would like to express my regret over the way you have abused your position as a journalist to misinform the readers of your site in regards to the stand the Albanian MoEFWA takes on the issue. (I do not know whether this has been done purposefully or whether it’s just the naiveté of your non-professionalism).

It is unfortunate for me to say that under the present situation, I am obliged to review the relationship between our institution and that of your agency.

Ermal DIZDARI, Advisor of the Albanian Minister for Media

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Investigation 10 Feb 12

Secret Waste Imports Alarm Albania’s Greens

Activists say Balkan Insight’s discovery that hundreds of tons of hazardous waste entered the country without any records makes a mockery of the government’s environmental pledges.

Besar Likmeta