Waste incineration fuelled cement plant in Morata de Tajuña, Spain

The big Portland cement company reduces production costs by burning cheap urban waste as do other cement companies in Spain. The city council orders air quality study .


Description

The cement plant Portland Valderrivas in Morata de Tajuña is the biggest in Spain and one of the biggest in Europe. In late 2012, very possibly as a result of cost-saving measures due to the steep decline in cement production in Spain since 2008 (linked to the bursting of the absurd building bubble), the company asked permission to change or supplement the fuel they were using. From petroleum coke they would change at least in part to different sorts of waste (which may include tyres, plastic materials, meat and bone meals, sewage sludge and domestic waste). The company got the permission to use co-incineration during summer 2013. This is a new instance of what has happened elsewhere, in a location about 35 km to the south of Madrid not far from the domestic waste incinerator of Vandemingomez. As in similar cases in other countries and in Spain, opposition has appeared against this project at local and regional scale, defining it as an environmental justice conflict. As reported in the newspaper El Pais (21 May 2013), the neighbours, the vecinos, are opposed: "La planta ya quema pulpa de madera pero está a la espera de que la Administración autorice la sustitución parcial del combustible fósil por residuos, como harinas animales, lodos de depuradoras y neumáticos que de otra manera acabarían en el vertedero. No obstante, los vecinos se oponen y aseguran que la quema de basuras en incineradoras pone en riesgo la salud." The greatest concern of these groups are the alleged negative potential consequences for human health and the environment related to the uncertain risk of toxic emissions produced in the chimneys of the industrial installation. Several petitions and street protests have been organized; these groups are also coordinated with other national and international groups working against waste incineration.

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Basic Data
NameWaste incineration fuelled cement plant in Morata de Tajuña, Spain
CountrySpain
ProvinceMadrid
SiteMorata de Tajuña
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Incinerators
Other industries
Specific CommoditiesCement
Domestic municipal waste
Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project Details133 workers are employed in the plant
Project Area (in hectares)60
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population7515 (directed affected population living in Morata de Tajuña)
Company Names or State EnterprisesCementos Portland Valderrivas from Spain
Relevant government actorsMadrid Regional government, Morata de Tajuña Town Council, Ministry of Environment
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersEcologistas en Acción Madrid, Asociación de Vecinos Morata de Tajuña, Ribas aire limpio, Medio-Ambiente Sol, Toma la Tierra, GAIA
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution
Health ImpactsVisible: Other Health impacts
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseApplication of existing regulations
Permission for co-incineration granted in 2013 and activity is ongoing
Development of AlternativesBetter waste management.

Towards a Zero waste policy.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The company got the permission to use co-incineration during summer 2013.

The population of Morata de Tajuña was divided in opinions regarding the incinerator. There was a strong social pressure not to jeopardize jobs. That also made difficult to communicate environmental concerns.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Ley 16/2002 de 1 de Julio de prevención y control integrados de la contaminación.

Ley 22/11 de 2011 de residuos y suelos contaminados.

Directiva 2008/98/CE del Parlamento Europeo y del Consejo sobre los residuos.

Real Decreto 105/2008 por el que se regula la producción y gestión de los residuos de construcción y demolición.

References

Madrid Regional government decision to allow the burning of toxic waste:
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Denounce about the irregularities of the process to grant permission to the cement plant:
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Environmental analysis of the project by the cement company:
[click to view]

Presentation about the cement plant project:
[click to view]

Links

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El Pais, La cementera de Morata pide permiso para quemar basura urbana - Feb 2013
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[1] 20 minutos - La cementera de Morata multiplica sus emisiones tóxicas por la quema de residuos
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EL AYUNTAMIENTO DE MORATA OBLIGA A UN ESTUDIO DE CALIDAD DEL AIRE A LA CEMENTERA PORLAND
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Other Documents

View of the plant Source: http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2013/02/19/madrid/1361307386_854394.html
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorAmaranta Herrero and EJatlas editors
Last update15/05/2016
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