Public outraged at planned waste incinerator near Rīga

Citizens have expressed dissatisfaction with the plan to build a waste incinerator in Stopiņi, just outside the capital Rīga. Six thousand signatures were collected against the planned construction. The municipality says it is facing such a great resistance from society for the first time, Zemgale Television reported on April 27.

A three-hour online public consultation on the intention of a garbage incinerator in Stopiņi was very heated on Tuesday evening: rebukes and ironic remarks, and outrage at the project.

Around 6,000 signatures have already been collected on the site. The nearest home to the intended plant is 500 meters away. It is planned that the plant would be a building of approximately 60 meters and a chimney of around 80 meters, burning many tonnes of waste per year.

The largest owner of the plant is Clean R, but the construction agent is the Environmental Resources Centre, which promises that the plant would meet all European standards and cost several hundred million euros.

Guntars Levics, board member of the Environmental Resources Centre, explained: “The explosive risks are minimized because gas will not be used as secondary fuel, ammonia storage is not planned and emissions are well below the norms and the environment will hardly be affected.”

The next step to implement the project is an environmental impact assessment, but it could take several months, the Environmental Monitoring State Bureau said. Once this assessment is received, the decision will have to be taken by the municipality.

In the municipality of Ropažu, there have been cases in the past where smaller industrial projects have been stopped due to public resistance, but such a major project is being evaluated for the first time.

Vita Paulāne, president of the Ropaži municipality council, said that there had been a lot of resistance from the population to the idea. “I can say now that I apologize to the business, but I will certainly vote against and the majority of the public is against, and very justifiably,” she said.

Residents worry that polluted air emissions will hit their gardens and air, as well as about the risks of an accident at the company and the quality of groundwater.

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