Thousands of people in Slovakia live close to landfills

Several waste dumps do not meet technical norms, recent study suggests.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME - Tibor Somogyi)

About 10,700 people in Slovakia live within 500 metres from legal landfills, while further thousands of people live within 100 metres from bigger illegal waste dumps.

This stems from the data of the Institute for Environmental Policy.

There are thousands of illegal waste dumps and 111 legal landfills. The numbers of people living near them differs.

The Slovak technical norm on landfilling from 2004 stipulates that a waste dump cannot be set up close to settlements, as the author of the study Martin Gális stated.

“More than 40 percent of these places do not meet the technical norms on distance, with 16 being created after the norm was issued in 2004,” Gális said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Where is the worst landfill?

The minimum distance of the landfill from the settlement should be 500 metres. However, his study suggests that of 42 risky dumps, 38 are situated within 500 metres.

The norm also bans setting up a landfill within 1,000 metres from medical and school facilities. The fact is though that the 12 dumps do not meet this criterion either.

“The worst legal landfill is Košice-Myslava where, apart from a big number of people living within 500 metres, six schools are located within 1,000 metres from it,” Gális said, as quoted by TASR.

In Podbrezová (Banská Bystrica Region), there are six schools within 1,000 metres from the waste dump, while in Čadca (Žilina Region), more than 200 people living within 100 metres from the dump.

“The inhabitants from marginalised Roma communities comprise a disproportionally big part of the affected population, with at least 4,800 people living in the risk zone,” Gális continued. This is mostly the case of Košice-Myslava, where Lunik IX is in the neighbourhood.

In Martin, a settlement with more than 300 Roma inhabitants is situated close to the landfill. Other Roma settlements close to the waste dumps are in Spišská Nová Ves, Veľké Ozorovce in the Trebišov district (both in Košice Region), and Kozárovce in the Levice district (Nitra Region), TASR wrote.

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