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From electric cars to banning plastic bags and restoring nature: Armenia eyes greener future

armenpress.am02/13th/2020, 6:06

From electric cars to banning plastic bags and restoring nature: Armenia eyes greener future

Armenia was planning to implement the Global Electric Mobility program in 2019, but the project on switching the government fleet to electric vehicles has been delayed, Minister of Environment Erik Grigoryan told ARMENPRESS in an interview.

This is a global process and not only Armenia is involved, and due to certain procedural delays of other countries the program got delayed. The Government of Armenia will switch to using electric vehicles in the nearest future. The project will be implemented through environmental grant funds provided by the Global Environment Fund. The legislation related to electric vehicles came into effect in the second quarter of 2019. Comparing the import figures of electric vehicles of the same period of 2018 we see a huge difference. In 2018 only 1 electric vehicle was imported to Armenia, while in 2019 nearly 150. Today there are already dealers who are officially importing only electric vehicles. The manufacturing of these cars contains more innovation and technology than machinery. We hope that Armenia will also be able to become a country with the capacity of assembling, and at a certain stage also manufacturing electric vehicles. We also plan to have a greater number of EV charging stations not only in Yerevan but in other cities, in order for motorists driving electric vehicles not to have problems”, Grigoryan said.

Asked about another environmental project on limiting the use of plastic bags, Grigoryan said the draft legislation that was approved by the Cabinet was debated for a very long time. “There were procedural obstacles, but it got finally adopted. It will soon be debated in parliament, and if passed the sale of up to 50 micron single-use plastic bags will be banned from January 1, 2020. This is the de jure dividing range, we expect that by 2022 the use of plastic bags will significantly drop as a result of the public’s change of behavior,” he said, noting that the ban features certain exceptions, such as recycled trash bags, bags used for food packing and weighing. The alternative will be paper and other reusable fabric bags, the minister said.

There are 44 plastic producing companies in Armenia, and 27 of them are manufacturing only polyethylene bags. The law allows them on one hand to sell their stock within two years, and on the other hand to change their profile and start making biodegradable plastic. The producers will gain great market advantage and can further expand and export their products to EEU countries,” Grigoryan said when asked about the businesses in the area and what effect the law will have on them.

Minister Grigoryan also highlighted other programs currently under implementation. He pointed out the groundwater saving project in the Ararat Plain that began in 2019. He said they were able to save nearly 100 million cubic meters of groundwater as a result of conservation and dissolving of abandoned wells, as well as reduction of volumes of active wells in the Ararat Plain in 2019. “This saving is greater than the water used in Yerevan in an entire year”, he said....

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