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Pata Rat landfill, Cluj Napoca, Romania


Description:

The conflict emerged most visibly with the eviction of tens of Roma families (350 people) from a street in a residential area of Cluj Napoca (str. Coastei) and their relocation to an area in close proximity to the Pata Rat municipal waste dump (800 m) and even closer proximity to the chemical (pharmaceutical) waste dump (200 m). The relocation occurred in mid-December 2010 and triggered protests from civic and pro-Roma organizations based in Cluj Napoca.

Although the claims put forward referred to racial discrimination and extreme segregation, this dramatic case brought to light the dire living and working conditions of 1500 residents living directly on or very close to the Pata Rat waste dumps. Human habitation of the waste dump goes back to the 1960s, but since 2000 the number of residents and the amounts of waste have expanded.

There are four settlements in the area: Dallas, Garbage Dump, Cantonului street and new Pata Rat/Colina Verde, each with its distinct history of discrimination and environmental exposure.  This is considered the largest waste-related ghetto in Europe (Dohotariu 2016). One part of the residents work in the selective waste collection while others work in other sectors. The environmental justice case is inextricably tied to racial and citizen rights issues and the problem has been explicitly defined as a form of “environmental racism [that] dehumanizes poor Roma and pollutes the milieu where they are forced to live” (Vincze, 2013, p. 389).

Since 2012, the Cluj municipality has been working to expand the landfill from Pata Rat by building a new dump, with EU funds, which has not been completed until 2017. This happened, apparently  without acknowledging the ongoing environmental impacts on the local segregated population. Evironmental impacts due to social injustice will likely continue to accumulate with no equitable resolution in sight.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Pata Rat landfill, Cluj Napoca, Romania
Country: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:Domestic municipal waste
Land
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.

The project "Integrated waste management system in Cluj County" has a total eligible budget of EUR 52 899 193, with the EU's European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 38 773 186 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/projects/romania/a-modern-hygienic-solid-waste-system-for-cluj

Project area:30
Level of Investment:52,899,000 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 from Romania - 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) www.gloc.ro (unavailable in June 2017)
Desire Foundation (http://www.desire-ro.eu/)
Pro Roma (http://www.prorroma.org/ro/despre_prorroma/ - Romamian and http://www.proromi.nl/nl/dit_is_proromi/ - Dutch)
International IEJOs: http://www.smallstepsproject.org/dump-projects/romania-cluj/#

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Informal workers
International ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
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

Impacts of the project

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

Outcome

Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Land demarcation
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Repression
Development of alternatives:Development of alternative housing: https://citizenspact.eu/blog/288/
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 and Materials

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Spatialization and Racialization of Social Exclusion
http://sparex-ro.eu/

Book published in 2016: "Pata" (in Romanian)
http://sparex-ro.eu/wp-content/uploads/PATA-web-v11.pdf

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.
http://studia.ubbcluj.ro/serii/sociologia/open_access.html

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Pata-Cluj, a social intervention project using an integrated approach to social inclusion.
http://patacluj.ro/about-pata-rat/?lang=en

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Social justice in Pata Cluj
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=48&v=tafjsl0r7ek

Trailer documentary Pata-Cluj (2017)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k16AOdRlBLs

Other documents

Pata Rat picture #2 Pictures taken in April 2017 by George Popescu (to whom credit is due)
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Pata_rat_george_popescu_poqe_2.jpg

Pata Rat picture #4 Pictures taken in April 2017 by George Popescu (to whom credit is due)
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Pata_rat_george_popescu_poqe_4.jpg

Pata Rat picture #5 Pictures taken in April 2017 by George Popescu (to whom credit is due)
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Pata_rat_george_popescu_poqe_5.jpg

Pata Rat picture #3 Pictures taken in April 2017 by George Popescu (to whom credit is due)
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Pata_rat_george_popescu_poqe_3.jpg

Pata Rat picture #1 Pictures taken in April 2017 by George Popescu (to whom credit is due)
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Pata_rat_george_popescu_poqe_1.jpg

Pata Rat picture #6 Pictures taken in April 2017 by George Popescu (to whom credit is due)
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Pata_rat_george_popescu_poqe_6.jpg

Pata Rat picture #7 Pictures taken in April 2017 by George Popescu (to whom credit is due)
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Pata_rat_george_popescu_poqe_7.jpg

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

Images

 

 

 

Pata Rat pictures

Pictures taken in April 2017 by George Popescu

Pata Rat picture #6

Pictures taken in April 2017 by George Popescu (to whom credit is due)

Pata Rat picture #7

Pictures taken in April 2017 by George Popescu (to whom credit is due)