The new National Waste Management Plan encourages the continuation of the construction of harmful regional centres and waste incineration while ignoring the priorities of reduction, reuse, recycling and composting.
Environmental organisations and civil initiatives gathered in the Zero Waste Croatia network evaluated the document submitted for public discussion until March 30. With today's action in front of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, they warned of possible consequences if the current proposal of the Plan is adopted. They displayed a banner with the inscription "Our future is black" and, with a satirical performance, pointing at the enrichment of interest groups that has been going on for 18 years. The associations wanted to deliver the symbolic cake as an "attachment" to their comments on the Plan. But, the Ministry did not want to receive it, even when the police, coming at their invitation, found that it was not problematic.
"The concept of regional waste and incineration centres, drawn up in 2005, has "come of age"! Croatia is among the worst waste management countries in the EU. Instead of learning from mistakes, the Ministry forces the same system unreasonably", said Marko Košak from Zelena akcija / FoE Croatia. The EU has warned Croatia several times that it should revise the regional waste management system and invest in local systems of reduction, reuse and maximum recycling and composting. "The Ministry is ignoring better solutions and is once again giving the polluting industry a push with this new Plan. It seems that the interests of those who get rich from waste are important to Minister Filipović, not environmental protection which is in the public interest. With this kind of Plan, a future full of pollution and expensive bills awaits us", Košak said.
The proposal of the Plan for the next five years prescribes the construction of eight new regional waste centres where waste would be transported and prepared for burning in cement plants, thermal power plants, heating plants and other industrial facilities. More than five billion kunas are planned for the construction of the centres. On the other hand, minimum funds are allocated for the priority reduction of waste generation and reuse and the necessary local waste sorting, recycling and composting infrastructure.
The first two centres which were built, Marišćina and Kaštijun, showed the failure of the concept of regional centres. "Due to the centre Marišćina, the health of citizens in Viškovo and surrounding settlements is at risk because they live in conditions of reduced air quality. Increased concentrations of harmful particles cause respiratory problems for residents, confirmed by two final verdicts against the responsible employees", Košak added. He emphasised that the residents living near the centre of Kaštijuna in Istria have the same problem due to outdated technology and that if the new Plan is put into practice, the same awaits the residents of other settlements throughout Croatia.
Branka Genzić Horvat from the association UZOR pointed out that the goal of building regional waste centres has always been clear, and the Ministry emphasises it in this Plan. This is the mass burning of waste in incinerators and various industrial facilities throughout Croatia. Waste incineration, no matter how much it has been modernised, still harms human health because it causes respiratory diseases and cancers, and is also the most expensive way of processing waste that the EU has stopped funding", Genzić Horvat said, adding: "We will not stop fighting for the public interest and against the interests of garbage profiteers who have been trying to build incinerators all over Croatia for years".
Siniša Bosanac from the civil initiative "Koprivnica as we deserve it" said that the planned centres are just a copy of existing failures because they still want to transport waste hundreds of kilometres, just to prepare it for expensive and harmful incineration. He gave the example of Piškornica, a centre where waste from as many as five counties would be brought. "Instead of investing in the city's utilisation systems for waste as a raw material for new production, the construction of a waste centre is planned next to the water pumping station itself, which supplies over 30,000 residents of Koprivnica. The Piškornica Center, like the others, serves the interests of incinerator groups, so attempts to build incinerators have become more intense in recent years. For example, Sisak, Kutina, Podrute, Konjščina, Rebro etc. If this Plan is implemented, incinerators will spring up like mushrooms after the rain", the Bosanac concluded.
Due to non-compliance with EU directives, inadequate environmental impact studies and non-compliance with legal principles, associations and citizen initiatives are forced to go into court cases and criminal proceedings. "Please note, if the proposal of the Plan is not thoroughly changed, we will use all legal mechanisms to stop all unnecessary, unacceptable and harmful "projects" of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development", Košak concluded.
On behalf of the Zero Waste Croatia network:
Zelena akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia
Association for Nature, Environment and Sustainable Development Sunce
Crisis eco headquarters Marišćina
Crisis eco headquarters Konjščina
The civil initiative of Koprivnica that we deserve
Citizens' Initiative - Stop the incinerator Rebro KBC Zagreb!
Civil initiative Karlovac
Association for environmental protection Resnik, UZOR
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