Multiple landfill sites, Portugal

“It must always be a place for leisure and sport, and never a landfill site”. Local communities revolt against the building of landfill sites.

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">Until 1986, when Portugal joined the European Union, the responsibility of municipal solid waste management (MSW) was handled by each municipality. This process consisted in collection and disposal in landfills without any sanitary control (commonly called waste dumps). In 1994 there were 325 open dumps.</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">In the early 1990s, some municipalities performed viability studies to enable the construction of permitted MSW landfills, with treatment infrastructures financed by European funds.<br/><br/>In 1993, the Decree-Law No. 379/93 of November 5 prefigured the creation of multi-municipal systems of waste management. In 1996, the Waste Institute was created and in 1997 the Strategic Plan for Municipal Waste Management was published. The main goals set by this plan were the closure of existing open dumps in the country, implementation of recycling centers, landfills and thermal waste treatment (incineration). <br/><br/>This led to a series of protests during the 1995 to 2002 period, mainly due to the siting process of landfill locations, which were negotiated between the government and the municipalities, without public discussion. <br/><br/>The most notorious conflicts were those in Bigorne, Sermonde, Taveiro, Cadaval and Arcena, in which, despite demonstrations, landfills were built in the initially planned sites and civil society protest was delegitimized through a political discourse (represented for example by the Ministry of the Environment) that aimed to characterize the claims as the result of NIMBY syndrome (not in my backyard). <br/><br/>In Bigorne, Lamego (Viseu district), local citizens questioned the site selection to host the landfill of Residouro Company. Between 2009 and 2010, citizens supported by the environmental organization Quercus, by the National Confederation of Agriculture and by the Assemblies of Common-use lands, engaged in several protests, prevented access of machinery to carry out the landfill construction works and faced heavy police repression. Letters and petitions were delivered to the Viseu Civil Government and to the Presidency of the Republic. Nonetheless the landfill was opened in 2002.<br/><br/>In the town of Cadaval (Lisbon district), between 1999 and 2001, protesters organized in a Pro-Information Movement about the landfill and claimed that there were irregularities in the selection process of landfill location by the Association of West Municipalities and by Resioeste, in charge of the landifill operation. They argued that these entities had not fulfilled the People's Action Law and legislation on landfills, with regard to comparative studies of locations. There were a series of demonstrations that sought to prevent the works which suffered police repression. At the opening of the landfill, which occurred in November 2001, new demonstrations took place. <br/><br/>In Sermonde (Porto district)a conflict over the construction of a landfill by the Suldouro Company ¡ lasted from 1994 to 1999. This gave rise to the pro-environmental association Associação de Defesa ao Ambiente de Sermonde e Serzedo-Pinus. This association and the local population, with the support of Quercus, organized demonstrations, demanded new opinions for advice on the location of the landfill, they also filed an official complaint against the choice of Sermonde and lodged a complaint in the European Union and two actions in the Porto administrative court. The landfill was opened in July 1999. <br/><br/>In Taveiro (Coimbra district), where the population lived for over 16 years with an open dump, the projected landfill construction by ERSUC Company generated intense protests in 1996. Citizens organized into a civic movement, blocked the waste storage in municipal waste for a few days. Their claims were on the lack of transparency and dialogue, lack of negotiation and the lack of provision of information to citizens. Right to Information laws were used to access the documentation from the municipality.<br/><br/>In 2011 there was also a civic movement against landfill enlargement in Arcena (Lisbon district), by the Valorsul company. In two weeks 3.200 signatures were collected in a petition. In addition Cimpor company owned the quarry next to this landfill and proposed a partnership where they would extract all the materials in that area before its enlargement, this resulted in another conflict with the local population. These two projects were never approved due to its environmental impacts.<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></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>Multiple landfill sites, Portugal</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/portugal">Portugal</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>LOW country/state 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>Waste Management</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/domestic-municipal-waste'>Domestic municipal waste</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">Until 1994, there were 325 dumping sites in Portugal, who reserved 73% of RSU, and none of the existing landfills fulfill European safety standards.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Semi-urban</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>6 500 is the total population that lives in Bigorne, Cadaval, Sermonde e Taveiro. </td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>01/01/1995</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">End Date</td><td>01/01/2002</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/resioeste-valorizacao-e-tratamento-de-residuos-solidos-sa'>Resioeste - Valorização e Tratamento de Resíduos Sólidos, S.A. <small>(Resioeste)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/portugal'><small>Portugal</small></a><br /><a href='/company/suldouro-valorizacao-e-tratamento-de-residuos-solidos-urbanos'> Suldouro - Valorização e Tratamento de Resíduos Sólidos Urbanos <small>( Suldouro)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/portugal'><small>Portugal</small></a><br /><a href='/company/residuos-solidos-do-centro-sa'>Resíduos Sólidos do Centro S.A. <small>(ERSUC)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/portugal'><small>Portugal</small></a><br /><a href='/company/residouro-val-e-tratamento-de-residuos-solidos-sa'>Residouro - Valorização e Tratamento de Resíduos Sólidos, S.A. <small>(Residouro)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/portugal'><small>Portugal</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente (APA)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">International and Financial Institutions</td><td><a href='/institution/european-commission'>European Commission <small>(EC)</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Movimento Pró Informação (MPI) - Cadaval<br/><br/>Associação para o Estudo e Defesa do Ambiente do Concelho de Alenquer (ALAMBI) - Cadaval <br/><br/>Associação de Defesa ao Ambiente de Sermonde e Serzedo (Pinus)<br/><br/>Coletivo de moradores - Bigorne<br/><br/>Comissão Representativa de Cidadãos Envolvidos na Defesa do Ambiente<br/><br/>Quercus</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>MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>PREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Local ejos<br /> Local government/political parties<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities<br /> Social movements</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Blockades<br /> Development of a network/collective action<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism<br /> Objections to the EIA<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions<br /> Street protest/marches<br /> Occupation of buildings/public spaces<br /> Boycotts of companies-products</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>Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Infectious diseases</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures</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>In operation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area<br /> Court decision (failure for environmental justice)<br /> Strengthening of participation<br /> Application of existing regulations</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>The proposal is to study alternatives landfill areas so that the populations of chosen locations (who are often in rural or semi rural and remote areas and who aren´t the largest waste producers) shouldn´t suffer the strong impacts of these infrastructures. They also H<br/><br/>highlight the need for greater investment in recycling, reuse and reduction of urban waste.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>Not Sure</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>Despite the large popular mobilization, in most cases these landfills were built in the places indicated.</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> Decreto-Lei nº 379/93, de 5 de Novembro. Previu a criação de sistemas multimunicipais de gestão de resíduos que deveriam servir a pelo menos dois municípios e cuja exploração seria efetuada diretamente pelo Estado ou concessionada a entidade pública de natureza empresarial ou a empresa resultante da associação de entidades públicas.<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> FERNANDES, Lúcia de Oliveira . O processo decisório da localização de um aterro de RSU: o caso de Sermonde. Dissertação de mestrado. Universidade de Aveiro. Secção Autónoma de Ciências Sociais, Políticas e Jurídicas, 2006.<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> NUNES, João A.; MATIAS, Marisa; COSTA, Susana. Risco, incerteza e conflitos ambientais em Portugal. V Congresso Português de Sociologia. Universidade do Minho, 2004.<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> MARQUES, Maria João de A. e S. Predicting and minimizing opposition to municipal solid waste landfills siting. Universidade Nova de Lisboa: Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia - Departamento de Filosofia e Engenharia Ambiental, Tese de Doutorado, Lisboa, Dez. 2012.<br/></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> JORNAL PÚBLICO. Movimento organiza manifestação contra aterro do Oeste. Jornal Público, 8 de Agosto de 2001<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> QUARESMA, PEDRO. “Taveiro, Coimbra. Lixeira + aterro?” in Não nos lixem. 23 de Novembro de 1996.<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Aterro da discórdia<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p> <a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> <a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> <a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> <a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Comments</td><td>Since there were protests in different places, the GPS refers to the geographic center of Portugal. GPS of each conflict: Bigorne: Latitude 41.008440, Longitude -7.885486. Cadaval: Latitude 39.243760, Longitude -9.103332. Sermonde: Latitude 41.048627, Longitude -8.584418. Taveiro: Latitude 40.194585, Longitude -8.505972.</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>Francisco Fernandes, Inês Costa and Teresa Meira</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>13/03/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>