Last update:
2019-08-15

Illegal waste dump at a Roma community in Markusovce, Slovakia

Over decades, a waste dump piles up in the middle of the Roma settlement in the village of Markusovce. The neighborhood is not served by any waste collection service. Only when local activists speak up, the illegal dump gets removed.


Description:

Waste had piled up in the middle of Roma settlement in Markusovce, covering the stream of a local creek for around 30 years. The waste dump was the result of the lack of access of the local Roma community to waste removal services and the lack of political will from the side of the municipal office to find solutions (field visit in summer 2019).

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Illegal waste dump at a Roma community in Markusovce, Slovakia
Country:Slovak Republic
State or province:Kosice county
Location of conflict:Markusovce
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

After a member of the Roma community was elected mayor of the municipality, a local NGO started to lobby for a clean-up, and the municipality won a grant from the Environment Ministry to fund the waste removal. During winter 2015/2016, a private company removed more than 3.000 tons of waste to an official dump site. The municipal office then provided five large-capacity containers and started regular waste removal using the services of a local waste removal company.

Level of Investment:115,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:3,000
Start of the conflict:07/01/2016
Relevant government actors:Municipal government of Markusovce
Ministry of Environment
International and Finance InstitutionsEnvironmental Fund (Ministry of Environment)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Roma Markusovce (local NGO)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Development of alternative proposals
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Waste overflow, Soil contamination
Potential: Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Violations of human rights, Displacement
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Negotiated alternative solution
Development of alternatives:The local Roma-led NGO has asked for the clean up and for the provision of waste collection services. After the municipal elections and after the municipality won a grant for the clean up, the waste was removed and regular waste collection was introduced.

Jointly, the municipal office together with local NGO "Roma Markusovce" started to work towards decreasing the debts that local Roma families had accumulated when not paying the waste removal fees. The families now have the possibility to follow a payment schedule allowing them to clear the debt. They receive a family-sized dust bin and have their waste removed directly from their home. At the moment of research (summer 2019), an estimated 40 families (out of an estimated 200) have their waste removed using regular dust bins.

The municipal office also prepares waste separation service in the settlement (while the non-Roma part of the village already had access to waste separation). This step is meant to decrease the amount of waste put in the containers and is believed to decrease the costs of waste removal as the separated waste is removed free of charge.. It is also expected that a recently approved law on a deposit for plastic bottles, which will enter into force in 2022, will help to decrease the amount of waste in Roma communities, including Markusovce.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:3.000 tons of illegal waste have been removed. The municipal office installed more large scale waste containers that are removed regularly. More families have cleared their debts and have their waste removed using domestic bins.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

[1] Source: Contract between Markusovce Municipal Office and Environmental Fund, signed in November 2015 (see Documents section).

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[5] Civil society report on the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategy in the Slovak Republic.
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[3] Article from the Slovak Spectator on a health care assistant in Markusovce mentioning the issues of hepatitis.

[2] Article on Roma activists in Slovakia.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

This photo shows the situation in 2008.
[click to view]

This image shows the situation in 2008 when the waste was dumped in the creek right next to the settlement, where also the toilets were located.
[click to view]

Other documents

Contract between Markusovce Municipal Office and Environmental Fund Grant of EUR 94,629,- from Environmental Fund to Markusovce Municipal Office as a support to project "Markusovce without Waste", aimed at clearing the waste in local Roma settlement
[click to view]

Contract between Markusovce Municipal Office and Insomnium s.r.o. Contract between Markusovce Municipal Office and Insomnium Ltd. - provision of clearing the illegal waste in local Roma settlement at price of EUR 99,580,-
[click to view]

An excavator cleaning the creek from illegal waste in Markusovce, December 2015 An excavator cleans the illegal dump in the middle of Roma settlement in Markusovce. Before the action, the dump was completely filling the the creek.
[click to view]

Other comments:The information in this cases in based on research conducted during a field trip in summer 2019 by the author of this case, interviews with residents and activists.
Meta information
Last update15/08/2019
Comments
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