Waste incinerator project near Rīga slows down

On Wednesday, May 17, the Council of Ropaži municipality suspended the plan to build a waste incinerator in the Stopiņi parish just outside Rīga, Latvian Television reported.

As reported earlier by LSM, the intention of a garbage collection and burning site in Stopiņi was met with great resistance from the locals. 

On Wednesday, the municipality council unanimously voted to suspend the spatial plan amendments and the construction of the incinerator. Most of the councillors would support it and do not see any risks in the building, but voted against it in order to show solidarity with citizens' expectations.

“The public's concerns are extremely significant. Today, too, people are ready to gather to express their views,” said Haralds Burkovskis, Vice-President of the Ropažu Municipality Council (National Alliance).

This does not mean that the project has been stopped altogether. The developer does not intend to abandon construction plans.

Therefore, in the coming months, it will try to convince citizens about the safety of the site and even potential benefits, such as a tidy environment or more economic thermal energy, arguing that the plant will not cause any damage to the environment or to the health of the population, and even the smells will not be felt.

Guntars Levics, board member of the project development board, said that “we know how such plants work”.

“These concerns – they are emotional. We're ready to talk, explain. There are many examples in Europe where such plants are located in urban centers – Vienna, Paris, and Copenhagen. In the Netherlands, very many such plants are located in very densely populated areas and there is no deterioration in living standards,” Levics said.

Local residents, who were also meeting on Wednesday at a protest, do not believe the developer's statements.

“No, I don't believe it. I made sure myself when I went to Austria recently. I went to Vienna and looked at how there was a factory like this. I was there at this plant, and it really smells. [..] Literally a couple of weeks back,” said Raitis Čerņavskis, resident of Ropažu municipality.

"The building is planned at 60 meters. These are three nine-story buildings that can be seen from Dreiliņi, Pļavnieki, Ķengarags, and even Salaspils. But that's a little thing. People are worried about their health and the health of their children,” Stopiņi parish resident Ēriks Ruzavins said.

Both the local government and the developer point out that, sooner or later in the vicinity of the capital, such plants will be needed because the Latvian population generates half a million tonnes of waste a year, but the capacity of the Getliņi landfill will soon have reached its peak.


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