Asbestos contamination from Salonit-Vranjic, Croatia

The asbestos-containing material producing factory Salonit was closed in 2006. However, only part of its workers managed to receive pension rights and compensation for health impacts cause by occupational exposure to asbestos.


<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns">The Salonit Company was a state owned factory located in the Croatian town of Vranjic, near Split - the second largest city of Croatia. The company had been producing construction materials that contained asbestos since the 1920s. By the end of the 1990s, 250 of Salonit’s workers and a few hundred of Vranjić’s citizens were officially diagnosed with asbestos disease (an incurable lung disease). In 1999, the Croatian Government accepted to compensate some sick workers to an extent, but the process was plagued with numerous irregularities. Meanwhile, Vranjic citizens suffering from asbestos disease faced difficulties in getting compensated as the state resolution covered only Salonit’s employees. Due to the long compensation procedure, many of the citizens have died before they could be compensated. In 2006 Salonit was closed and declared bankruptcy, as Croatia adopted the EU decision from 2005 to strictly ban the production, sale and usage of asbestos. However, research into documents from the Customs Authority about the quantities of asbestos products imported into Croatia since the absolute ban of January 2006 show that 11,677 tonnes of asbestos products were imported into Croatia until 2012 (out of that 87% came from the EU). In 2008, the Croatian Government launched a clean-up and sanitation program of asbestos contaminated areas in town of Vranjic, including these three ‘hot spots’: the production building, Marvička kava – the depot for asbestos containing materials from the factory, and the northern part of Vranjic peninsula where large amount of asbestos had been disposed into the sea. Also, it is important to note that some workers had been involved in process of remediation of Salonit but, in 2009, the bankruptcy manager of Salonit company did not renew their working contracts. The workers claimed that this decision was not in line with the guaranties they received from the Prime Minister in relation to their employment on remediation of the factory, and they organised hunger strikes. The clean-up program was done, however according to local organisations provoking even greater ecological damage, as the process did not fully respect EU sanitation norms. The workers and citizens claimed irregularities to the state authorities and demanded justice and compensation. In July 2008, the Social Democratic Party (in opposition in that time) filed a request for criminal charges against top officials in the Ministry of Environment for omissions in the process of disposal of asbestos waste from Salonit. In 2011, representatives of the EU Green Party visited Vranjic on invitation by local ecological NGOs to check the validity of information on the sanitation procedure received from the Croatian Government and were negatively surprised. Thanks to the laws on professional illnesses, 170 of Salonit’s workers (who had working contracts in 2006, when the company filed for bankruptcy) received compensation in 2011. However, the laws do not cover persons with diagnosed asbestos, such as ex-Salonit workers that stopped working before 2006. These people did not receive compensation, nor have they managed to obtain disability pensions. The civil organisations CS ‘Biglovi azbesta’ organised protests to require from the Croatian government to be more efficient in resolving the problems related to sick people's retirement status. </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Asbestos contamination from Salonit-Vranjic, Croatia</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/croatia">Croatia</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Split-Dalmatian County</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Vranjic</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Mineral processing<br /> Manufacturing activities<br /> Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/asbestos'>Asbestos</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns">Between 1970 and 1990, the Salonit factory handled up to 25,000 tones of asbestos annually. </td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>4,500,000 (costs of clean-up)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Urban</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>1,100</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>1998</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/tvornica-salonit'>Tvornica Salonit</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/croatia'><small>Croatia</small></a> - <small>The polluter </small><br /><a href='/company/igh-company-croatia'> IGH company, Croatia </a> - <small>Company in charge of the cleanup of the contaminated areas</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>The Croatian Parliament; The Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection of the Republic of Croatia; The Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning of the Republic of Croatia</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Udruga oboljelih od azbestoze, Vranjic; Udruga Barbarinac http://www.poslovna.hr/lite/subjekti.aspx?show=599906&&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1; Eko Kvarner http://www.ekokvarner.hr; Udruga ‘Biglovi azbesta’</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>Mobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Industrial workers<br /> International ejos<br /> Local ejos<br /> Local government/political parties<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities<br /> Social movements<br /> Trade unions<br /> Local scientists/professionals</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes<br /> Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)<br /> Creation of alternative reports/knowledge<br /> Development of alternative proposals<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism<br /> Media based activism/alternative media<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Property damage/arson<br /> Occupation of buildings/public spaces<br /> Hunger strikes and self immolation</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Groundwater pollution or depletion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>In April 2007, the concentration of asbestos in the air was three times higher than allowed. Citizents of Vranjic were not informed.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Infectious diseases, Accidents, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Asbestos disease, lung cancer and pleural mesothelioma</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>Stopped</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Compensation<br /> Court decision (victory for environmental justice)<br /> Court decision (failure for environmental justice)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>The impacted stakeholders including former employees, citizens and NGOs demand clean-up of the location contaminated by asbestos in accordance to EU regulations, as well as compensation and resolving the retirement status of sick workers. </td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>No</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>Many citizens of Vranjic claimed that cleanup and sanitation of contaminated areas had not been done correctly. Independent studies show that high presence of asbestos in the air continues. Furthermore, the compensation and retirement status of former employees is not resolved. </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Rješenje o neprihvaćanju prijedloga za pokretanje postupka za ocjenu saglasnosti s Ustavom Zakona o obeštećenju radnika trgovačkog društva Salonit d.d. u stečaju Vranjic ("Narodne novine" broj 84/11).<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://sljeme.usud.hr/usud/praksaw.nsf/Ustav/C12570D30061CE54C1257B26003B9AFA?OpenDocument" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> ILO website<br />Observation (CEACR) - adopted 2015, published 105th ILC session (2016)<br />Asbestos Convention, 1986 (No. 162) - Croatia (Ratification: 1991)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:13100:0::NO:13100:P13100_COMMENT_ID:3250049" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Incidence and prevalence of asbestos-related diseases in Croatia<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20853775" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Increasing of malignant pleural mesothelioma: burning issue in Split-Dalmatian County, Croatia.<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20102076" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> EU Countries Sell Banned Asbestos to Croatia<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://i-scoop.org/scoop/blog/2012/04/20/eu-countries-sell-banned-asbestos-to-croatia/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Azbest iz Vranjica ubija Split i Brač<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.nacional.hr/clanak/11097/azbest-iz-vranjica-ubija-split-i-brac" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Vranjic se guši u azbestu<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://danas.net.hr/hrvatska/vranjic-se-u-azbestu" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Salonit: Mladineo nije uspio, radnici nastavljaju štrajk glađu<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.jutarnji.hr/salonit--mladineo-nije-uspio--radnici-nastavljaju-strajk-gladu/310333/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Facts on Asbestos in Croatia<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.mzoip.hr/default.aspx?id=7394" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Zeleni iz Europe o sanaciji azbesta u Vranjicu: Ovako nešto sam očekivao u Sibiru, a ne u Hrvatskoj...<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.jutarnji.hr/vranjic-pokraj-solina-zagaden-otrovnim-azbestom--njemacka-stranka-zelenih-sokirana/942373/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Vranjic: Alarmantno stanje zbog azbesta<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.ezadar.hr/clanak/vranjic-alarmantno-stanje-zbog-azbesta" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Započela sanacija azbesta na nogometnom igralištu u Vranjicu<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/zapocela-sanacija-azbesta-na-nogometnom-igralistu-u-vranjicu/398325.aspx" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> 'Radnici Salonita opet su izigrani, mafija ima svoju državu'<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.jutarnji.hr/-radnici-salonita-opet-su-i%20%E2%80%8B%E2%80%8Bzigrani--mafija-ima-svoju-drzavu-/312708/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> VIDEO, FOTO: Radnici Salonita 'polugom pravde' razvalili ulaz i zauzeli tvornicu<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.jutarnji.hr/radnici-salonita-razbili--ulaz-te-zauzeli-tvornicu/651303/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> ZABORAVLJENI AZBESTAŠI<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://ploce.com.hr/aktualno/zaboravljeni-azbestasi/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Zašto svi oboljeli od azbestoze nisu jednaki? "Zakon štiti samo povlaštenu skupinu ljudi!"<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/zasto-svi-oboljeli-od-azbestoze-nisu-jednaki-zakon-stiti-samo-povlastenu-skupinu-ljudi/685488.aspx" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Azbest: Tihi ubojica<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://i-scoop.org/scoop/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/azbest.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Name of people who dieded and suffer of the ‘asbestos desies’<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.ant.hr/priopcenja/priopcenje8.htm" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Sanacija azbesta u Vranjicu<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.casopis-gradjevinar.hr/assets/Uploads/JCE-61-2009-10-03.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Štetno djelovanje tvornice Salonit u Vranjicu<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.casopis-gradjevinar.hr/~hsgiorg1/gradjevinar/assets/Uploads/JCE-56-2004-09-08.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> IZVJEŠĆE O PROVEDBI I. FAZE SANACIJE TVORNICE SALONIT D.D<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.mzoip.hr/doc/Izvjesce_Salonit.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>The protest of the former employees and citizens of Vranjic against Salonit company</strong> The signs read “Asbestos is still killing” and “The Government is responsible”<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/2.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Asbestos depot in Salonit factory</strong> Building materials containing asbestos stored in the depot of Salonit company in Vranjic<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/1._salonttit_vranjic.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Jovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)gmail.com</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>05/05/2016</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>
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