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 Krakow waste incinerator, Poland
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Incinerators
Specific CommoditiesDomestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe 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.)

The plant will produce around 70 000 tonnes of ash and residues per year – partially toxic.

It has been calculated that traffic intensity related directly with waste transport will amount to one truck per 3 minutes on average. Recently, the streets in the neighborhood are constantly jammed

and joining of hundreds of waste trucks to this traffic will result in a complete road traffic paralysis of the XII and XIII Quarters. Trucks with slag and hazardous ash will be also included among the users of these roads.

The MSW incineration plant would be situated as close as 300 m from the first row of residential buildings in Rybitwy and Przewóz and 400 m from Złocień. The latter is a home to 4000 inhabitants and there are plans for further expansion.

The project has received a grant of 385.5 m złoty from the EU Infrastructure and Environment Programme, the largest EU Commission subsidy ever granted to a public facility. The remaining 275 m złoty will come from a commercial loan to KHK, which will fund repayments by selling the heat and electricity generated by the plant.
Project Area (in hectares)50
Level of Investment (in USD)190,000,000
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population100,000
Start Date01/01/2000
Company Names or State Enterprises Krakow Communal Holding (Krakowskiego Holdingu Komunalnego) (KHK) from Poland
Posco Engineering & Construction (POSCO) from Republic of Korea
Relevant government actorsPoland government, Krakow Local Authorities (Mayors of Krakow: Urząd Miasta, Jacek Majchrowski)
International and Financial InstitutionsEuropean Union (EU)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersPolish Green Network (, CEE Bankwatch
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
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment 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-economic 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
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseProject temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesIncreasing 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 as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Regardless strong public opposition, the project goes on.
Sources and Materials

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]


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

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

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

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

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

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

Boiler Drum Lifting Ceremony
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorKatarina; [email protected]
Last update12/01/2015