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“034 Metal Recycling” polluting Kragujevac, Serbia


Description:

In 2000, the old shoe factory located in the city of Kragujevac was privatized by the company “034 Metal Recycling” DOO and modified into a metals recycling industry. This metal foundry is situated only 10 m from the nearest houses and 100 m from the kindergarten and city park built by the citizens of Kragujevac.

Since the foundry started working multiple episodes of air pollution happened affecting the life quality of the local community and causing respiratory diseases.

The local community reported the case to the city police, the regional environmental inspectorate, and the environmental ministry and even sent a letter to the president of Serbia, however without any success. In 2002, massive protests were organized in Kragujevac, which resulted in a temporary closure of the factory. By that time the foundry became one of the biggest exporters in Serbia. The factory was re-opened after only two weeks due to the pressure of workers syndicate and foreign companies, partners and clients. Re-opening of the foundry caused further pollution. The local community kept on reporting the case to the authorities at various levels. The authorities provided the community with 15 resolutions against the factory, however the production has never stopped and the factory continued polluting, especially on weekends and late in the night. According to the local community, slag from the production process was deposited outdoors polluting ground and surface water.

The company never admitted polluting, instead it has claimed investments in the air pollution abatement technology. The regional environmental inspectorate confirmed the company's claims.

The citizens kept on organising street demonstrations demanding the minimum distance of foundry of 500 m from the closes settlements as specified in the environmental law, if not possible than at least installation of air filters. In 2010, the activist created a documentary movie about the case that was broadcasted on the national television. In 2011, the general director of the company and few employees were arrested due tax fraud, after which the foundry was closed. Due to enormous debt the foundry went bankrupt in 2012. Up to beginning of 2014 the foundry was auctioned three times but there were no interested buyers. The foundry remains closed.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:“034 Metal Recycling” polluting Kragujevac, Serbia
Country:Serbia
Location of conflict:Kragujevac
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Metal refineries
Specific commodities:Recycled Metals

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

The foundry recycled 5,000 tonnes of metal waste including aluminium, lead, copper among other metals.

Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:150,000
Start of the conflict:2000
End of the conflict:2011
Company names or state enterprises:034 Metal Recycling DOO from Serbia - Owner of the foundry
Relevant government actors:The Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Republic of Serbia; Regional and Republic Inspectorate of Environmental Protection.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Civil association Eko park (http://www.ekopark.rs/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49&Itemid=56); Civil association Eko-mreza; Vojvodjanska zelena inicijativa (http://www.vojvodjanskazelenainicijativa.org.rs/)

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution
Potential: Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Other Health impactsRespiratory diseases, asthma and bronchitis in kids.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement

Outcome

Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Project cancelled
Factory closure
Development of alternatives:The citizens demanded respecting the environmental law, displacement of the foundry to a distance of at least 500 m from the closest settlement, and installation of air filters to prevent further air pollution, and finally closing the foundry. Closing was the least preferred solution as the factory was providing many workplaces. The company claimed use of clean technology explaining that the factory was located in industrial zone as well as that the houses located in its immediate vicinity were built illegally. The Ministry of Environment proposed installation of automatic air quality measurements that would help follow the pollution and react in cases of exceeding the permitted levels.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The grassroots organizing of the local community did not have significant influence on the current closure of the factory. The factory was closed due to a tax fraud and bankruptcy.

Sources and Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Porez preči od zdravlja i prirode
http://www.ekopark.rs/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1321:porez-prei-od-zdravlja-i-prirode&catid=35:ekopark&Itemid=53

Novi oblak iz Livnice
http://staklenozvono.rs/?p=1513

Livnica zagađuje naselje
http://www.rts.rs/page/stories/sr/story/125/Dru%C5%A1tvo/9786/Livnica+zaga%C4%91uje+naselje

Ubi ih Livnica
http://www.kurir-info.rs/ubi-ih-livnica-clanak-17515

Neće livnicu u komšiluku
http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Srbija/47974/Nece-livnicu-u-komsiluku

Livnica pored parka i obdaništa
http://staklenozvono.rs/?p=1087

Livnica nastavlja zagađivanje
http://www.ekopark.rs/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=284:livnica-nastavlja-zagaivanje&catid=35:ekopark&Itemid=53

"034 metal industry" još bez kupca
http://www.b92.net/biz/vesti/srbija.php?yyyy=2014&mm=01&dd=29&nav_id=805847

Nema kupca za livnicu
http://www.danas.rs/danasrs/ekonomija/nema_kupca_za_livnicu.4.html?news_id=275402

Uzaludni protesti zbog zagađenja
http://www.ekopark.rs/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=554:uzaludni-protesti-zbog-zagaenja&catid=35:ekopark&Itemid=53

Blokiraćemo jer nas guše!
http://www.glas-javnosti.rs/clanak/srbija/glas-javnosti-04-07-2008/blokiracemo-jer-nas-guse

Zatvaranje po svaku cenu
http://arhiva.glas-javnosti.rs/arhiva/2001/07/13/srpski/R01071204.shtml

Vlasnik livnice oštetio budžet za 3,9 miliona evra
http://www.pressonline.rs/info/hronika/156927/vlasnik-livnice-ostetio-budzet-za-39-miliona-evra.html

Livnivca zagađuje naselje
http://www.ekopark.rs/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=261:livnivca-zagauje-naselje&catid=35:ekopark&Itemid=53

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Documentary movie by NGO Vojvodjanska zelena inicijativa (Serbian)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_p3NdoAkNk

Other documents

Let's save Kragujevac! Scenes from the protest against the foundry in Kragujevac
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/photo_1.bmp

Hazardous cloud spreading above Kragujevac One of the multiple episodes of air pollution originated from the foundry
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/dim-iznad-livnice-034.jpg

Meta information

Contributor:Jovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)gmail.com
Last update26/06/2014

Images

 

Let's save Kragujevac!

Scenes from the protest against the foundry in Kragujevac

Hazardous cloud spreading above Kragujevac

One of the multiple episodes of air pollution originated from the foundry