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Unsafe access to water for Roma communities in Bardejov, Slovak Republic

Roma community only water resource is a natural well, which has been contaminated with pesticides by intensive and industrialised farm situated only 500 m from Roma settlement.


A Roma settlement situated at the outskirts of the town of Nižný Tvarožec is located by only 500 meters from a highly intensified agricultural farm [1]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Unsafe access to water for Roma communities in Bardejov, Slovak Republic
Country:Slovak Republic
State or province:Bardejov
Location of conflict:Nižný Tvarožec
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Water access rights and entitlements
Specific commodities:Water
Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Project details

FARMA Busov sro is a privately owned agricultural farm, situated just next to to the Roma settlement. Due to its provisional services for intensified agricultural product, the near water source is highly contaminated, but at the same time it is the only drinkable water resource for the Roma community that lives very close to the farm [1] In 2018, FARMA Busov sro increased its profit by 28% and sales increased by 24% to 2,156 mil. € [2]. the Mayor of the Nižný Tvarožec town does not recognise the Roma houses as official one belonging to the town she rules, so no adequate measures have been done in order to provide the Roma people with drinkable water [1].

Level of Investment for the conflictive project2,156,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:100
Start of the conflict:01/01/2014
Company names or state enterprises:FARMA Busov sro from Slovak Republic - Use of pesticide that contaminates the only open water well resource for Roma community
Relevant government actors:The mayor of Nižný Tvarožec, current mandate (2019).
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC)
UN Development Programs (UNDP)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
European Roma Research Centre (ERRC) and United Nation Development Program (UNDP) researchers tested the quality and contamination of the water well source, which proved to be of poor quality and highly contaminated by pesticides.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Genetic contamination, Soil contamination, Soil erosion
Health ImpactsVisible: Other Health impacts
Potential: Malnutrition, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Displacement, Specific impacts on women
Other socio-economic impactsSpecific impacts on: children, pregnant women, or aging populations may be more sensitive to the effects of pesticides than others
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Water examination by the ERRC to prove the contaminated state. However the industrialised production of the farm is still in the operation.
Proposal and development of alternatives:No alternatives have been developed so far. However, the ERRC submitted water from the well to a certified water lab in Košice in May 2014 and the test results revealed that the quality of the water was poor and significantly contaminated by nitrogen.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The Roma community remains living near the industrialised farm. As the only available water source is the unprotected well, the Roma drink water from the well which is contaminated with nitrogen and other biological substances due to the farm's intensive industrial agricultural production.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[2] Ki-Hyun, K., Ehsanul, K., Shamin, A.J. (2017). Exposure to pesticides and the associated human health effects. Science of the Total Environment. Vol. 575. Pages: 525-535.
[click to view]

[click to view]

[2] FARMA Busov sro
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Ksenija Hanacek ICTA-UAB
Last update09/08/2019
Conflict ID:4289
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