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Pata Rat landfill, Cluj Napoca, Romania

Environmental racism at work: the making of precarious living and working conditions on the Pata Rat landfill. This is the largest waste-related ghetto in Europe located in Cluj Napoca, Romania.


Europe’s largest waste-related ghetto is to be found in Cluj-Napoca, Romania’s fourth biggest city. Around 1,500 people, mostly Roma, live in four different informal settlements around the Pata Rât landfill, situated 6 kilometres away from the city centre. Many of them live in improvised shelters, made with materials that they can find at the landfill, such as cardboard, plastic or rotten wood. The majority of people from Pata Rât live in extreme poverty. Some of them have no access to utilities, not even electricity.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Pata Rat landfill, Cluj Napoca, Romania
Location of conflict:Cluj Napoca
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:Land
Domestic municipal waste
Industrial waste
Recycled Metals
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Cluj Napoca municipality forcibly relocated 350 people, most identified as Roma, in December 2010 from a street in a residential area of Cluj Napoca to the city’s municipal waste dump and a nearby chemical waste dump. However, this environmental justice case involves much more than this forced relocation “project”, as the inhabitants have been subject to long-term discrimination.

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Project area:30
Level of Investment for the conflictive project52,899,000 Euros
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:1,500
Start of the conflict:17/12/2010
Company names or state enterprises:National Public Management company from Romania - Management and construction of Pata Rat waste dump
SC Confort SA from Romania - Construction of the new waste dump
Atzwanger SPA from Romania - Construction of the new waste dump
Salprest SA from Romania - Waste management
SC Ladurner Impianti SRL from Romania - Construction of the new waste dump
SC Vel Service SA from Romania - Construction of the new waste dump
Relevant government actors:Cluj Napoca municipality, Cluj Local Council, Cluj Prefecture.
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Commission - Funding of the Integrated Waste Management Facility (no involvement in segregation/discrimination)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Working Group of Civil Society Organizations (gLOC) (unavailable in June 2017)
Desire Foundation (
Pro Roma ( - Romamian and - Dutch)
International IEJOs:
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Informal workers
International ejos
Wastepickers, recyclers
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Fires, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsInsecure housing
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Land demarcation
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Proposal and development of alternatives:Development of alternative housing:
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:There are no apparent plans or intentions to relocate the Roma from Pata Rat to offer them acceptable living and working conditions.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Spatialization and Racialization of Social Exclusion
[click to view]

Spatialization and Racialization of Social Exclusion. The Social and Cultural Formation of ‘Gypsy Ghettos’ in Romania in a European Context

Guest editor: Enikő Vincze

Studia Sociologia - see no. 2/2013 for download link.
[click to view]

Book published in 2016: "Pata" (in Romanian)
[click to view]

Pata-Cluj, a social intervention project using an integrated approach to social inclusion.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Social justice in Pata Cluj
[click to view]

Trailer documentary Pata-Cluj (2017)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Filip Alexandrescu (Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy and Research Institute for the Quality of Life, Romania), [email protected], with contributons from Ionut Anghel, Cristina Rat and Simona Stanescu.
Last update13/10/2017
Conflict ID:2874
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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