Latvian-Russian border area drowns in garbage

There is an unsolved problem with the lack of garbage cans and toilets at the border inspection post Grebneva in the Latvian-Russian border area. The war started by Russia in Ukraine exacerbated the situation, with people waiting for several days on the border, and the mountains of garbage on the roadside continue to grow, Latvian Radio reported on June 6.

On Tuesday, the line of cars was about a kilometer long, consisting of trucks, cars, and buses. Given the large flow of people and the long waiting times, there are too few toilets and garbage cans.

“We always talked, discussed, argued with Latvian State Roads about the need to make contracts to tidy up the roadside. If there are longer lines, then in the hot summer, it can end with an epidemic,” Ināra Silicka, Ludza municipality vice-mayor, said.

The local government has repeatedly focused and spoken with representatives of the responsible ministries and the competent authorities, but the procedures in the border area have not improved.

“This problem does not require global resources at all. There is simply a lack of interest from the competent authorities,” considers Silicka.

The problem was also exacerbated by the war in Ukraine when a lot of refugees began arriving. There is currently a large flow of border crossings from Moldova heading for seasonal jobs in Russia. There is a particularly great mess ahead of the border inspection post of Grebneva itself because a large number of people are focused on the support point of the Society “Your Friends.”

Volunteer Inese Ziemane-Kičenko said the situation was not good. “You saw – at least 100 people walking around, they have to sit somewhere, throw garbage out somewhere. Where? Because the containers we have – two containers – are filled in two days. But where should we put it for the other five days?” asked the volunteer.

“In the bushes, just throw or leave at the containers or just near the cars and go away. We wake up in the morning – first we have bags, bags, bags. We're drowning in garbage,” the volunteer said.

There is also a critical situation with a lack of toilets. Six have been installed by the association itself.

“The toilets are not really enough for the flow we have and they are filled so quickly. And now they go to the bushes, behind the toilet, everywhere. We're two of us in the shift, but if one needs to clean the waste and toilets all the time, at which time should we be talking to people?” asked Inese Ziemane-Kičenko.

Ukrainian Anastasia, who wants to get to Kharkiv, is waiting for the second day at the border.

“It's not human, as a minimum. We're sleeping and eating, looking at all this,” she said, sitting on her suitcase in front of an overflowing garbage can with big piles of garbage all around it.

“It looks like no one has collected waste for two weeks. But a lot of people here, they continue to replenish the mountains of garbage, but I think no one is going to collect it. The smell was horrible. The fact that it is unaesthetic is seen from afar. Inhuman. We did not see such squalor anywhere where we crossed the borders,” said the Ukrainian.

Viktor from Moldova is also waiting. He put hismattress on the road outside his car. There's a mountain of garbage down the road. “I lie here. I'm very concerned about it. Good thing there are no rats, because then ecology would be on the brink of disaster. No one thought there would be such lines, so the situation was unthinkable,” Viktor said.

“State Real Estate” pointed out that since last year they had already increased the number of containers and the frequency of their collecting, but their possibilities to significantly improve the situation have been limited.

On the other hand, Ieva Niedra, representative of “Latvian State Roads”, said in a written response that a new contract on waste container management, maintenance of toilets and the cleaning of the roadside will enter into force on July 4.

“Latvian State Roads” considers that the municipality of Ludza should be more involved in solving the situation, as well as thinking about the installation of special parking lots with appropriate infrastructure.


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