Pollution from the Topilnica smelter, Veles, Macedonia

A 30-years-old closed zinc and lead smelting factory -one of the environmental hotspots in Macedonia- will finally stop polluting Veles.


Description

The 30 years old zinc and lead smelting factory "Topilnica" (MHK – Zletovo – Veles) in the City of Veles is one of the environmental hot spots in Macedonia due to its historical air and soil pollution. Moreover, the factory is located only 1,5 km from the city center. In 2001 the World Health Organization pinpointed Veles as one of the most polluted towns in the world. The factory production line was closed in 2003 after going bankrupt and under public pressure following a large women's march on 8th of March 2003. The remaining slag was disposed on a site close to the smelter.

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Basic Data
NamePollution from the Topilnica smelter, Veles, Macedonia
CountryMacedonia, FYR
SiteVeles
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Metal refineries
Specific CommoditiesLead
Zinc
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsSurface of dumpsite: 33.000 m2.

Amount of slag containing zinc, lead, cadmium (heavy metals) disposed on the site: 1,700,000 tonnes.
Project Area (in hectares)42,745
Level of Investment (in USD)2,890,000
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population55,108
Start Date2006
End Date03/2016
Company Names or State EnterprisesMetrudhem DOOEL Skopje (Metrudhem) from Macedonia, FYR - Investor in the smelter reopening
Ekocentar 97 from Macedonia, FYR - Holder of a 10 years concession to exploit the smelter slag disposal site
Relevant government actorsThe Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning of Macedonia
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersZelena Koalicja-Green Coaliton; Еcological association "Vila Zora" http://www.vilazora.org.mk/
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Women
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion
OtherThe vegetables produced close by the factory site contained five times bigger content of metal cadmium than allowed 0.3 milligrams.
Health ImpactsVisible: Infectious diseases, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
OtherRespiratory diseases and cancers; malformation in newborns
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement
OtherLack of competitiveness of local producers and sellers of fruit and vegetable.
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseEnvironmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Changes in the Urban Plan of the City of Veles- deleting the factory
Development of AlternativesThe local government and activists managed to stop the factory reopening by introducing the changes in the Urban Plan of the City of Veles. They also demanded cleaning up of the slag disposal site.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The factory will not be reopened, while slag disposal site will be cleaned in 2 to 3 years by the company Ekocentar 97.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

The Law on Obligations
[click to view]

LAW ON WASTE MANAGEMENT
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THE LAW ON ENVIRONMENT
[click to view]

References

Soil Protection Activities and Soil Quality Monitoring in South Eastern Europe
[click to view]

ИЗВЕШТАЈ ЗА СТРАТЕГИСКА ОЦЕНА НА ЖИВОТНАТА СРЕДИНА (STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT REPORT)
[click to view]

Links

The Smelter of Veles
[click to view]

THE COLUMN on Veles
[click to view]

FYR Macedonia Puts Lead Foot Down on Veles Smelter
[click to view]

Macedonians Protest Against 'Killer' Smelter
[click to view]

Macedonia Town Raises Funds for Lawsuit Against State
[click to view]

Macedonia’s Metrudhem Plans to Invest $150 Mln to Restart Lead/Zinc Smelter
[click to view]

Macedonian Govt Offers To Help Relocate Veles-based Lead/Zinc Smelter
[click to view]

Platform “Green Macedonia”
[click to view]

Macedonia: Mobilizing Against Veles Lead Smelting Factory
[click to view]

Анкета велешани и кажаа НЕ на топилница
[click to view]

Environment minister, Metrudhem officials discuss Veles smelting plant
[click to view]

Еколошки бомби во Македонија: Како Велешката топилница не труе сите
[click to view]

ЗГУРАТА ОД ВЕЛЕШКАТА ТОПИЛНИЦА СЕ ДАВА ПОД КОНЦЕСИЈА
[click to view]

Dodelena koncesija za otstranuvanje na zgurata od teshki metali od veleshkata topilnica
[click to view]

Велес на прагот да го реши проблемот со загадувањето
[click to view]

Еколошки бомби: Згурата на Топилницата во Велес може да се излизга во река
[click to view]

Media Links

A1 Topilnica.wmv
[click to view]

Topilnica Good Veles Kaput video #1
[click to view]

Veles Makedonia - Topilnica good -Veles Kaput #2
[click to view]

НЕ за рестарт на Топилницата! СИТЕ НА ПРОТЕСТ
[click to view]

Protesti vo Veles protiv Topilnica (10.06.2008)
[click to view]

Protest protiv restartiranje na Topilnica 09.11.2011.mpg
[click to view]

Platen danokot za topilnicata vo Veles!
[click to view]

EVROZUM TOPILNICA PRILOG.mpg
[click to view]

Против рестартирање на топилницата во Велес
[click to view]

Димовски: На Велес повеќе не му треба загадување
[click to view]

Smelter Good - Veles Kaput!
[click to view]

Macedonia: Mobilizing Against Veles Lead Smelting Factory
[click to view]

Троската од Велешката топилница се изнамува за експлоатација
[click to view]

Other Documents

Protest against Topilnica Green power (member of Green coalition) against reopening Topilnica
[click to view]

Protests against Topilnica-Veles The sign reads: "Topilnica Never More!"
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorJovanka Spiric, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)gmail.com
Last update05/05/2016
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