Zagreb, Croatia - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has today been criticised for its continued involvement in the controversial Zagreb municipal waste incinerator project, expected to cost up to EUR 290 million, in spite of the recent rejection of the project's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Croatian environmental group Green Action has called on the EBRD to withdraw from the project which it argues will create new problems in the form of toxic ash and residues that Croatia has no facilities to deal with.
The Croatian Ministry of the Environment's review committee rejected the EIA in September this year on eight different grounds, including the fact that Zagreb should recycle much more than the current five percent of municipal waste before considering incineration; that there are not yet appropriate figures on which to base the capacity of any incinerator; and that the toxic ash problem is not appropriately solved.
In spite of this the EBRD is continuing to assist Zagreb City Council and municipal waste company ZGOS in their efforts to continue the project and has just this week posted a procurement notice for a transaction advisor on its website.
"For the EBRD to continue with the incinerator project preparations sends a dangerous message to the City Council that it is acceptable to continue with the project in spite of the rejection of the EIA," commented Jagoda Munic of Green Action. "It also sends a message to the citizens of Zagreb that established procedures can be abused and that the project will go ahead irrespective of their opinions. As it steps up its operations in South Eastern Europe, is this the kind of impression that the EBRD wants to give?"
Green Action is calling on the EBRD to send a strong message to the Zagreb City Council that it is not acceptable to continue with such a badly conceived project by withdrawing from the project and instead investing in waste prevention and non-toxic recycling. So far the EBRD has not financed any such projects in Croatia and its Country Assistance Strategy for Croatia completely fails to mention these options.
For further information:
Jagoda Munic: (Croatian/English)
+ 385 98 1795 690
+ 385 1 4813 096
+ 385 1 4813 097
Pippa Gallop (English)
+ 385 1 4813 913
+ 385 1 4813 096