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How Uzbekistan Solves the Problem of Air and Water Pollution

Development is inextricably linked with the growth of industry and high technology, which actualizes the problem of ensuring environmental safety, which has a global scale. Increasingly, discussions in Uzbekistan at the state level are addressing issues of improving sanitary rules, cleaning water bodies, recycling waste, and conserving water resources. After all, without saving natural resources and control in the environmental sphere, it is impossible to form a healthy nation.

Uzbekistan is consistently implementing policies in the field of ensuring environmental safety, rational use of natural resources, as well as improving the sanitary and epidemiological situation in the regions. In recent years, a new system of public administration in the field of environmental protection has been formed, a number of key regulations have been adopted, and draft strategic and program documents have been updated. In particular, over the past weeks of January, a number of regulatory and legal acts have been signed regulating various aspects of this vital issue. What innovations await citizens of Uzbekistan this year? How does the state solve the current problem of air and water pollution?

RES: technologies of a new day

For example, the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers “On the regulation and development of the organization of energy supplies based on renewable energy sources” was signed on January 8 of this year. In accordance with it, in 2024, solar panels with a total capacity of 15.3 MW will be installed on 765 multi-storey buildings.

It is determined: when importing renewable energy sources and equipment for them, raw materials, components and spare parts, a deferment of payment of customs duties is allowed for a period of 120 days without interest. It is important that the goal of the work being carried out is a real result, and not just statistics or numerical indicators. From March 1, 2024, the import of solar panels is prohibited, the technical documentation or labeling of which does not contain indicators of the quality of solar cells. Thus, the corresponding panels are included in the list of products for which compliance with regulatory requirements is technically mandatory.

The document defines the procedure for using the Yashil Energy information system and ensuring its continuous functioning. Thus, the Customs Committee was instructed to ensure that by February 1 of this year it is launched in a fully functional mode and transferred in the prescribed manner to the Ministry of Energy. The platform will allow you to remotely enter data on installed renewable energy sources and the electricity they produce, as well as monitor installed solar panels in real time.

Next, the decree of the head of state “On introducing amendments and additions to some resolutions of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan” dated January 10, 2024 came into force. According to the document, persons who install and use renewable energy sources with a total capacity of up to 100 kW are exempt from paying a number of taxes for three years:

  • legal entities: for property (according to these installations), land (for land plots occupied by separate installations), for profit (for revenue received from the sale of electricity for the general network);
  • individuals: for property and land (for real estate objects of the housing stock).

It must be emphasized that in the case of persons using installations with an electrical energy storage system, benefits are applied for a period of ten years from the date of their commissioning. Such measures are aimed at stimulating the development of the renewable energy industry and promoting an environmentally sustainable future for the country.

Water is the source of life

The head of state, through video conference calls, speeches and meetings, focuses on improving the social sphere aimed at improving the quality of life of the population, points out shortcomings, the correction of which will improve the situation in sectors of the economy. Including issues of further reform of the water use system.

As part of the work to raise this activity to a new level, the President signed a decree “On measures to improve the water resources management system and increase the efficiency of their use at the grassroots level” dated January 5, 2024. The document outlines an important goal that Uzbek citizens face today: rejecting the stereotype “water is free” that has formed in the minds; everyone must remember that life-giving moisture is an invaluable resource that needs to be protected. In this regard, the document provides for a number of measures and changes in the resource management system at all levels. Among them, the creation of state institutions “Suv etkazib beris hizmati” (Water Supply Service), which promises to be a key step in ensuring efficient water supply, accounting, maintenance of irrigation networks and digitalization of monitoring. Large amounts of funds are allocated to finance the project – 40 percent of the State Budget revenues from the tax for the use of water resources.

Limits on water withdrawals for irrigating crops are also being established, and agricultural producers will be provided with loans and subsidies for the introduction of water-saving irrigation technologies (for example, the portal has been launched in test mode). But for entrepreneurs who do not improve their activities, the tax, on the contrary, will become higher from 2025 due to the integration of a system of reduced and increased coefficients.

The changes will be gradually implemented as part of the implementation of the Agricultural Development Strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2020-2030. They are designed to contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of Uzbekistan, one of the priority tasks of which is the rationalization and efficient use of land and water.

A clean environment is everyone’s personal responsibility

The President of the country also signed a Decree “On measures to improve the waste management system and reduce their negative impact on the environmental situation” dated January 4, 2024. The new document determined not only responsibility for violations in the field, but also a system of incentives for those who take an active part in protecting the ecological environment from pollution.

For example, entrepreneurs who have installed means of photo and video recording of traffic violations are now given the opportunity to record environmental violations. For applications that lead to the punishment of the perpetrators, 20 percent of the fine will be paid. Ordinary citizens also have the same right: that is, they can submit an application to the Ministry of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change of the Republic of Uzbekistan to install, at their own expense, the appropriate software and hardware in areas turned into landfills. For this they will also receive 20 percent of the payments made by violators. Employees of the National Guard and the Ministry of Internal Affairs involved in environmental patrols will receive a monetary reward of 10 percent of the fines collected.

Incentive measures have been introduced for employees of sanitary cleaning enterprises and improvement departments, and concerned citizens. One hundred bicycles and other prizes will be awarded to industry workers, environmental activists and public environmental watchdogs every month. It is planned to hold an annual competition “Defender of the Harmony of Nature” among representatives of the direction with at least 10 years of experience, as well as for one hundred people from this category of workers – payment in full of the contract amount for the education of their children and grandchildren who entered state universities on a contract basis .

It is also planned to introduce new liability measures. Among them – to increase the amount of fines for offenses related to the release of waste in unidentified places; confiscation of funds that served as an instrument for committing an offense or the subject of an offense; establishing the obligation to clean up the site of waste release and removal. Administrative liability is also provided for illegal waste removal, causing harm to the environment and its pollution.

By the way, thanks to the implemented measures, everyone can make a contribution to the common cause. Until July 1, 2024, sanitary cleaning enterprises in these areas will provide citizens free of charge with special packages with a QR code for organizing waste collection and sorting into categories:

  • transparent – for recyclables;
  • black – for non-recyclables;
  • brown – for food.

These steps are intended not only to increase accountability for violations, but also to encourage the active participation of citizens and entrepreneurs in supporting green initiatives aimed at improving the environmental situation in the country.

Mr. Bakhodir Ismailov is head of the Sector of Legislation in the Field of International Relations at Institute of Legislation and Legal Policy under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and Doctor of Law, Professor