Invest in our planet
World Earth Day, which is celebrated on 22 April, is taking place this year with an emphasis on investing in and enriching our planet. The Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning implements a range of measures to preserve the environment by investing in the planet and development opportunities. World Earth Day is intended to raise awareness and show how each of us can make an important contribution towards a more environmentally and climate friendly planet.
World Earth Day urges us to strive every day for sustainable development, a healthy environment and living, and a more environmentally and climate friendly planet, because a green future is a prosperous future. This is why innovation and action that accelerate solutions and preserve the planet are needed.
The Ministry's measures reflect the concern for environmental preservation and promotion of development
We have adopted an environmental constitution: The Environmental Protection Act
The basic systemic act in the field of environmental protection covers all parts of the environment (air, water, nature conservation, climate change) and introduces instruments in the field of environmental protection. It introduces the necessary environmental protection principles of:
- circular economy,
- polluter pays and
- extended product liability.
It comprehensively regulates anew the field of waste management, including by:
- setting the basic rules of waste management,
- determining the conditions and criteria for the cessation of waste status and
- regulating the system of extended product liability (EPL).
The key purpose of the Environmental Protection Act is to encourage the reduction of waste generation and establish an efficient, transparent and cost-optimal waste management system.
The EPL system needs to be introduced in order to transpose the amended Waste Directive and also because of the inefficient waste management system, in particular of packaging waste, which requires intervention by the state. The proposed act lays new and healthy foundations for an efficient, transparent and cost-optimal EPL system, which covers packaging waste. For this purpose, the ZVO-2 determines only one non-profit organisation for each mass flow of waste, which will look for the most favourable bidders on behalf of producers. These bidders will then process the waste generated as a result of placing the products on the market. In addition to introducing the EPL, which is the main purpose of the ZVO-2, the act also brings many other new features. It determines measures to prevent or reduce generation of waste and encourages the reduction of the harmful effects of generated waste. The ZVO-2 also exercises provisions for reducing the overall impact of the use of resources and for improving the efficiency of such use, which is essential for the transition to a circular economy.
Regarding the Natura 2000 sites, implementation of projects to improve the status of important species and habitat types has been facilitated
Eleven projects with a total value of EUR 40 million and co-financed by the ERDF are being implemented. In terms of content, they cover the improvement of the status of European important species and habitat types, preferably those with poor conservation status and endemic species. As part of these projects, at least 400 hectares of habitats will be improved and restored and areas for public access will be developed. The purpose of the projects is to establish a good nature conservation status in the priority Natura 2000 sites, purchase or establish contractual protection or custody of nature conservation areas, establish corridors to ensure favourable status of protected species (for example, wetland restoration), and ensure quality interpretation of exemplary nature conservation areas.
Regulations for the protection of water resources adopted
Protection of water resources is a precondition for ensuring the supply of drinking water to the population, i.e. for all citizens to exercise their right in accordance with Article 70a of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia. Although the legal basis for this important task has been in place for more than a decade, a total of 15 decrees and more than 20 amendments had been adopted by the end of March 2022. During the current term, Minister Vizjak facilitated the drafting and adoption of these decrees at the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, so that five of them were adopted from March 2020 to March 2022, and more than 20 are being drafted.
Closures and remediation of landfills under way
In accordance with the relevant coalition commitment, an inventory of potentially polluted areas (approximately 550 in Slovenia) has been made and an application for data entry and review and for data analysis on the basis of the selected criteria has been developed.
The inventory of potentially polluted areas in Slovenia will enable inspection services to act faster in the event of environmental disasters and accidents and will also be used by the planning sectors (municipal spatial plans, national spatial plans, municipal detailed spatial plans).
Renewable energy sources: A Concession Agreement for the Use of Water for Electricity Generation on the Middle Sava signed
After 16 years of negotiations and coordination, a Concession Agreement for the Use of Water for Electricity Generation on the Middle Sava was signed in the autumn of 2020. By exploiting the hydro power potential, we can ensure the future use of environmentally friendly renewable energy sources which can effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of climate change and, at the same time, ensure flood safety in the broader area of the middle Sava by means of the required development work.
The hydro power potential of the Sava is utilised at a mere 30% rate. Facilities on the middle Sava section with the utilisation of a 117-metre drop will enable the production of an additional 1,105 GWh/year. This represents approximately 10% of the total electricity produced in Slovenia and 20% of the energy produced in Slovenia from renewable sources.
Resolution on the Long-Term Climate Strategy of Slovenia until 2050 adopted
The Resolution sets the clear objective of Slovenia achieving net zero emissions or climate neutrality by 2050. With the Climate Strategy, Slovenia sets the clear objective to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. It is therefore expected to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, which means that emissions taken out of the atmosphere equals the remaining anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By 2050, Slovenia will reduce GHG emissions by 80% to 90% in comparison to 2005, improve carbon sinks and at the same time facilitate the implementation of climate change adaptation policies and the provision of climate safety for the population. The Climate Strategy pursues the ambitious objective of achieving climate neutrality, while at the same time offering individuals, society and the economy a series of opportunities as part of which many simultaneous positive effects will be achieved, such as reduced environmental impact, nature conservation, reduced dependence on energy imports and new development opportunities in the joint energy markets, management of costs and thus energy poverty, provision of green jobs, greater competitiveness of companies and balanced regional development. With its small size and good educational structure, Slovenia will be able to use these opportunities to make an efficient, inclusive and sustainable transition to a climate-neutral society. The only question is whether we will be able to take advantage of the challenges and opportunities of this transition as a society.
What can each of us do?
Certainly, one of the most important challenges to slowing down climate change is sustainable mobility, which includes walking, cycling, use of public passenger transportation and other forms of alternative mobility. This contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner air in cities, quality of life, health and social justice.
Research shows that young people have an increasing influence on green decisions in the family environment and are responsible for changing habits. It is therefore important that we provide them with all the information they need to influence the future and invest in the planet, as the slogan of this year's World Earth Day calls for.
Young people are an important part of this, but we must not forget that adults are the ones empowered to create even greater change, and that they have a responsibility to future generations.
We encourage you to act responsibly in the field of energy saving, environmental care, water management and waste management - invest in the planet with your actions and contribute to a better tomorrow.