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Krakow waste incinerator, Poland


Poland is using EU funds to construct municipal waste incinerators. Such distribution of funds would contradict the EU waste management main objective, according to which priority must be given to the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste, which are more cost-effective and environment-friendly solutions. They also create much more employment, frequently for people from socially excluded groups.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict: Krakow waste incinerator, Poland
Location of conflict:Krakow
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Incinerators
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The facilities will be capable of incinerating waste of approximately 680 tons a day (14.1 tons/hour x 2 units) and waste of approximately 220,000 tons a year, giving it a power production capacity of approximately 10.74MWh by using the heat from incineration. (This is more waste suitable for incineration than Krakow is able to produce – according to the current estimates Krakow produces around 180 000 ton of burnable wast e annually.)

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Project area:50
Level of Investment:190,000,000
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:100,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/2000
Company names or state enterprises: Krakow Communal Holding (Krakowskiego Holdingu Komunalnego) (KHK) from Poland
Posco Engineering & Construction (POSCO) from Republic of Korea
Relevant government actors:Poland government, Krakow Local Authorities (Mayors of Krakow: Urząd Miasta, Jacek Majchrowski)
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Union (EU)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Polish Green Network (, CEE Bankwatch
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Fires, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Occupational disease and accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Violations of human rights
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Project temporarily suspended
Development of alternatives:Increasing recycling and composting levels, as well as focusing on waste prevention schemes, would be much more effective in lowering landfilled waste volumes over a longer period of time. Alternatives such as prevention, recycling and waste separation create more sustainable jobs, business niches and local development.
The documents presented so far for the planned Krakow incinerator do not consider any sound alternatives for waste burning. Major source separation, recycling or composting schemes are not being implemented or even planned, despite the fact that they are cheaper and allow for resource conservation and greater energy savings.
Alternatives to waste incineration have not been properly assessed on national, regional or local level. Waste management plans, such as Warsaw’s waste management plan published for public consultation in October 2008, are clearly written in order justify the pre-chosen option – waste incineration.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Regardless strong public opposition, the project goes on.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Petition to the EP
[click to view]

Explanatory Comments on the Polish Incinerator Project Awarded with the RegioScars Award 2009
[click to view]

POSCO E&C Holds Ceremony for Completing the Boiler Drum of Poland's First Incineration Plant
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

KHK - Communal Waste Incineration Plant - Krakow - Construction Project Profile
[click to view]

New contractor needed for Krakow incineration plant
[click to view]

Green protesters stand in the way of waste incineration plants
[click to view]

Boiler Drum Lifting Ceremony
[click to view]

Krakow’s Controversial Waste Incinerator Programme on the Final Stretch
[click to view]

Krakow authorities support the construction of a waste incinerator
[click to view]

EC- Regional policy / Waste incineration plant in Kraków will recover energy from household and industrial trash
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Katarina; [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
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