„Let's stop the giant waste incinerator,“ people from the Mělník region appeal

During the press conference in Mělník
Photo: Petra Slováčková, Arnika

The petition „Stop the Mělník Incinerator“ requires shutting down the project of the biggest incinerator in the Czech Republic. According to the locals, the planned incinerator of ČEZ company named ZEVO Mělník would contribute to destruction of the environment around the Elbe river and to possible worsening of the people's living standards. The petition has been signed by more than 1300 people already.

The ČEZ Group plans to put the incinerator into operation in 2024. Allegedly, the reason for this is the ban of waste landfilling that should be valid in the Czech Republic from said year. However, the submitted Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) documents show a number of serious defects.

Local people are afraid of emissions of hazardous substances to which the incinerator might contribute by one third to one half. They would include also particularly hazardous substances, such as toxic heavy metals, and, for example, carcinogenic benzo(a)pyrene, in the case of which immission limits are sometimes exceeded in the surroundings of the power plant nowadays already.

„The company ČEZ declared the plan to incinerate up to 320 thousand tons of waste, especially from the Central Bohemia Region, in Horní Počaply annually. Thus, the capacity of the incinerator would be higher than that of the incinerator in Malešice in Prague, and it would be the biggest facility of this kind in the Czech Republic," said the representative of the petition board,  PhDr. Hana Beranová. "However, we miss the reasoning why it is necessary to construct just such a big plant, and comparison with other possibilities of waste management,“ added the head of the association Ekozahrada pod věží.

In addition to emissions from the incinerator itself, the local inhabitants are worried also of the transport rise in surrounding villages, that are suffering from heavily loaded trucks already. Therefore, 1350 people who signed the petition up to now require „to stop the waste incineration project ZEVO Mělník, and to endeavour to replace it by a less centralised and more environmentally-friendly waste management system.“

The councils of the municipalities Dolní Beřkovice and Horní Počaply have already expressed their disagreement with the present form of the ZEVO Mělník project, too. Also the Mělník representatives, including the mayor, MVDr. Ctirad Mikeš, commented the project critically.

The public hearing will be in Mělník on March 8th
The ČEZ Group submitted the EIA documents concerning the project in the beginning of February. However, the documents did not include description of the specific technology they intend to use for the incineration. This is an essential aspect that may influence the amounts of toxic emissions significantly.

„We consider the fact that data on the specific technology are missing in the documents completely unacceptable,“ stated RNDr. Jindřich Petrlík, a toxic substance expert, the Arnika's statement. „Moreover, ČEZ does not plan to install a filter for mercury emissions which would be relatively high, according to calculations. It would certainly be desirable to compare the chosen solution with other variants of waste management methods that would be efficient also in the long-term perspective,“ concluded Petrlík.

An turnover in the process of EIA is the public hearing that will be held in the Mělník Cultural Centre on March 8 at 16:00, as announced by the Ministry of Environment.


RNDr. Jindřich Petrlík  the head of the „Toxics and Waste“ programme of the Arnika association:  „The future and environment of people living in the surroundings of the Mělník power plant are at stake. Impacts on them were not assessed thoroughly, because it could not be done at all. ČEZ has presented a virtual project only and wants to obtain carte blanche for construction of a plant, while nobody knows with certainty how it should look like and operate. For example, an untested technology was used for dioxin capturing in the hazardous waste incinerator in Lysá nad Labem leading to serious accident in April 2013. We are trying to prevent a similar situation, with the aid of the local inhabitants. We hope that the Ministry of Environment will not issue a positive statement concerning the virtual project of the incinerator.“

PhDr. Hana Beranová – representative of the petition board, the head of the association Ekozahrada pod věží from Horní Počaply:  „The ČEZ representatives often use the argument of landfilling ban that should be in force from 2024. But during February meeting with the citizens in Horní Počaply they had to admit that the Act does not apply to slag, ash, and fly ash produced as the residues of waste incineration in the incinerator. However, these „residues“ are about one third of the material brought to the incinerator. Thus, 112 thousand tons of waste produced by the incinerator would be landfilled. From this point of view, the planned incinerator may not be regarded as an environmentally-friendly solution, how the ČEZ representatives try to sugar-coat it.“

Mgr. Kristýna Hypšová – citizen of  the village Vliněves, part of the municipality Dolní Beřkovice: „The fact that air quality would not worsen is not any good news for us. We would like to breathe cleaner air than nowadays and that's exactly the thing which the Mělník incinerator would destroy. Luckily, more and more people become aware of the project, and the majority of them do not agree with the construction and they have good reasons for that. After all, the incinerator would irretrievably influence the life in the municipalities, the value of the land, and also the health of our children.“

Translation: Tomáš Hakr

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