Sunce stops waste incineration in CEMEX factories – Court has adjourned
Yesterday, on 6 July 2015, after two years of the lawsuit of the Sunce and City of Kaštela, the Court of Appeal of the Administrative Court of Split annulled the Decision to Operate, Provide Temporary Storage and Fixing of Solid Waste (RDF/SRF) at CEMEX Sv. Juraj and Sv. Kajo declares environmentally acceptable.
The decision of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Nature (MZOIP) on the combined environmental conditions of the CEMEX Kaštela factory (also means all the conditions for their environmental behavior) has also been canceled. These solutions come back to re-decide what practice means if CEMEX still wants to use fuel from waste, it will have to restart the process from the very beginning.
Simply put, the Sunce Association prevented the planned incineration of municipal waste (including those outside our county) at CEMEX factories.
The Sun Society has been monitoring all local waste management activities for many years, which can have a significant impact on the environment and the health of the local population. The use of municipal waste as fuel could harm the health of people in Kaštela, Split and Solin.
Namely, heavy metals and especially light-fasteners of mercury, dioxins and furans that are carcinogenic and mutagenic are released by combustion of airborne waste and are causing a variety of diseases, with the most vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women and young children. Also, all these compounds tend to bioaccumulate in living organisms.
The core objective of responsible waste management, which is equally and economically justified, is a reduction of waste generation and separation and recycling/re-using. The use of waste as cement fuels would certainly not contribute to that goal, in other words, there would be a need to generate even more waste and waste imports since the whole Split-Dalmatian County could not generate the amount of waste that CEMEX needed.
All of these allegations were the elements of the Sunce Association complaint as well as the fact that both factories are located in the protected coastal area and that the Split-Dalmatinska County spatial plan defines how areas of production can not be planned in the coastal and island areas of the County and for “existing production industrial facilities or complexes (basic chemical processing industry, etc.) which have adverse environmental impacts, it is not possible to plan to increase surface and other interventions in these zones in order to increase spatial needs and increase the production capacity of these facilities, to modify environmentally unfavorable fuels such as renovation or replacement of the technological equipment of the existing production capacity. Production facilities can be approved for operations that are exclusively designed to reduce adverse impacts on the environment. “
We also considered that the Administrative Court took note of the fact that the Ministry made a series of omissions in the conduct of the public participation procedure regarding the request in question, thus violating the provisions of the positive legislation of the Republic of Croatia and the Aarhus Convention.
In the process of the Integrated Environmental Protection Requirement, the Sunce Association has repeatedly filed a request to include it in the proceedings as a party for which the Ministry has ruled out of all the deadlines for the decision to reject the party’s status. By the same Decision, the Association also filed a lawsuit with the Split Administrative Court, firmly advocating that civil society organizations should be allowed to participate in environmental proceedings and as a party to proceedings, regardless of the interpretation of the term “interested public” under the Environmental Protection Act.
We were therefore guided by the maximum from the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, from which it is clear that the right to a healthy environment is one of the basic human rights. By law, a procedure in which a particular person was not recognized as having the right to participate as a party, and what should have been possible, was unlawful, annulled and returned to re-determination.
The validity of the legal standpoint of the Sunce Association has been confirmed in this case by the final ruling of the Administrative Court in Split, which annulls the decision on unified conditions and returns for re-determination with the satisfactory interpretation of the Judge Silvio Čović that in these proceedings the party’s character must be considered in the wider context with regard to the rights which are protected by civil society organizations, which, of course, are guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia.
It is important to point out that the progress made in the judiciary by Croatian judges, applying the European law implemented in the Republic of Croatia’s legislation, is becoming more and more evident, so we hereby want to announce that they continue boldly in this direction.