Many car repair shops mismanage waste, says Environmental Service

The State Environmental Service (VVD) has carried out an inspection of car repair shops throughout Latvia, determining that one in five repair services operates without registering with the VVD. Mismanagement of hazardous waste is one of the most pressing problems, the Director General of the VVD Elita Baklāne – Ansberga told Latvian Television on October 17.

One of the main tasks of the VVD was to focus on the management of hazardous waste and products harmful to the environment and on the need to register polluting activities. “Before the campaign, we estimated that a quarter of the shops might not have registered,” said Baklāne-Ansberga. "After nearly 180 tests, we found that this percentage was lower because some of the shops that registered the activity in the Revenue Service no longer existed. Therefore, in Latvia, a fifth of the services have not been registered. Say, those who aren't registered are smaller services, they aren't big providers. In non-registered services, infringements mainly relate to waste management, in particular hazardous waste."

Currently, 2588 car repair shops have registered their activities in the Environmental Service, but 600-650 or more have not registered. The largest concentration of unregistered shops is around the Rīga vicinity and around the largest cities. Those around Rīga say that the main reason to not register is that a point of disposal is not available nearby. This means that most often, waste is being disposed of inappropriately, including by burning. 

The State Environmental Service often finds out about the violation when it has already received complaints about burning and black smoke.

"In compliance with the "Consultation First" principle, we will go to companies that have just received registration to present the rules and requirements,” said the Rīga regional environment council director Kalvis Avotiņš. “If we find infringements, we shall give a period of 30 days for which loopholes and offenses can be rectified. Then we operate within the framework of the administrative infringement process. The penalties may vary, for waste management infringements, up to EUR 2,800."

If the public sees environmental damage, it can be reported on VidesSOS website or app or by phone 26338800.

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