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Slovenian Cement Plant Stops Operations as Environmental Permit Fails Approval

The Slovenian Cement Plant ceased operations due to unapproved environmental permits

In Trbovre, Slovenia, a cement plant owned by Lafarge was ordered to cease operations after it was revealed that it lacked the necessary environmental permits.

The factory has filed a complaint with the Slovenian Ministry of Environment and it is expected that it will try to obtain further permits. Therefore, local groups who have been opposed to the factory's environmental pollution for many years remain vigilant and vigilant.

Eko Krog (Ecosphere) is the Slovenian Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection Association. Together with local residents, it has been fighting against the burning of hazardous waste at the Lafarge plant for more than 10 years and has campaigned on the issue of clean air. Since its election campaign in 2004, the organization has been condemning the cement plant's insufficient environmental permits and facing complex legal challenges; once received more than 500 pages of legal documents from Lafarge, with only 14 days for comment.

The Lafarge plant obtained a waste burning permit between 2009 and 2011, during which time the plant burned a variety of hazardous and municipal solid waste. Thanks to Eko Krog and his efforts in the legal proceedings, the court rejected the permit issued to Lafarge and ordered the cessation of the joint incineration of waste in the factory. However, Lafarge did not stop the operation of the plant, which resulted in Slovenia being subject to EU lawsuits for failing to implement the licensing system that "requires industrial plants to obtain permits to verify that they comply with strict environmental controls." The 2007 IPPC Directive. In the process, Lafarge finally resumed the operation of the plant, but it is applying for a new permit.

The biggest obstacle to zero waste

In this recently released video, Uroš Marcerl of Eko Krog talked about the campaign against the pollution caused by incineration of waste at the Lafarge plant. "We will never let this story repeat itself in the Zasavje area," he said. "They are interested in the huge profits from waste incineration-nothing else." Erika Oblak from Ekologi Brez Meja (an ecologist without borders) stated that Lafarge “eventually only cares about annual profits”.

As cement plants increasingly turn to burning hazardous waste instead of producing cement to increase profits, waste incineration in cement kilns has been an increasingly serious problem. However, the large amount of heavy metals burned in the kiln poses a risk to the surrounding communities and the environment. Paul Connett, professor emeritus at St. Lawrence University in New York, called the incineration of waste in cement kilns "the biggest obstacle to zero waste."

Slovenia is at a turning point, and more and more cities are beginning to achieve the zero waste goal, which was inspired by Ljubljana's becoming the first EU capital to adopt a zero waste strategy. As municipalities pave the way for a zero-waste future and phase out plans to build incinerators, the cement industry faces a growing threat that despite the obvious impact on the environment and public health, the cement industry will increase Local pressure on the government to use waste as fuel for its operations. It is not only the Trbovlje plant in Slovenia that opposes Lafarge’s waste incineration practices. In Montcada i Reixach in Catalonia, the Catalan High Court rejected the environmental permit granted to the Lafarge Cement Plant for incineration of waste. For many years, the local anti-incineration movement Montcada Aire Net has been calling on Lafarge to stop their waste incineration activities.

Although Trbovlje cement plant continues to operate, Eko Krog also continues to oppose incineration in the area, and we hope that we will soon see the end of waste incineration in the Zasavje area.

Watch the video for yourself and see what you think:

"They are interested in the huge profits from waste incineration-nothing else"

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