Eight years after the closure by justice of the Vacmorta landfill, which between 2000 and 2014 accumulated more than 3.2 million tons of industrial waste from all over Catalonia, the Generalitat today began the emptying works of the facility, located in the town of Cruïlles, Monells and Sant Sadurní de l’Heura (Baix Empordà).
In this first phase, which will cost 2.5 million euros, only a small part of the material stored in the basement will be evacuated, namely 20,000 tonnes. The work will last a year and the process will determine how the rest of the waste will be disposed of.
years of waiting
The removal of the first waste comes eight years after the judicial closure of the facilities
Subsequently, after this first phase, the rest of the landfill will be emptied, a process that will take 16 years and cost around 200 million euros. According to the plan that the government presented before the summer, it would peak in the year 2041.
The Plataforma Alternativa a l’Abocador de Cruïlles, Monells i Sant Sadurní de l’Heura was very pleased with the start of a draining process that it had been waiting for for many years. “Since the year 2000, we have fought against the administrations and the company Recuperació de Pedreres SA; since the closure of the landfill in 2014, we have lost time because the governments that have existed have not wanted to take responsibility for the process”, explained Zeta Figa. , spokesperson for the entity.
Since the closure of the landfill in 2014, we have lost time because the governments that existed did not want to take responsibility for the process
The Catalan government has pledged not only to empty the landfills, but also to restore the area as it was in 1998, an area of thirteen ponds between Cruïlles and Corçà included in the Inventory of Wetlands of Catalonia.
Figa pointed out that the platform will struggle to make the restoration happen. “We will do everything we can to make this happen; we want to finish this long process well and recover the wetlands that were once in the region, it is everyone’s wish,” he stressed.
emptying and restoration
The Generalitat, according to a court decision, undertakes to restore the area as it was before the start of the activity at the dump
The director of the Agència de Residus de Catalunya, Isaac Peraire, acknowledged that the emptying and restoration works “will not be easy” and should be “long”. If the deadlines are met, the process will not be considered complete until 2039.
Paraire acknowledged that it was “an obligation and responsibility of the government” to carry out the emptying and restoration, which was required by several final decisions.
The delegate of the Generalitat of Girona, Laia Cañigueral, has positioned herself in the same direction, describing today as a “historic day” with the start of the works. “We have ended a 22-year loop of immobility and ended a historic claim by the inhabitants of the area,” he said.
The Government does not rule out holding responsible those responsible for previous governments who “did not do their job well” and did not respect the court decisions that forced them to close, empty and restore the area.
We’re ending a 22-year loop of inactivity and ending a historic claim
In 2014, the Supreme Court declared null and void the environmental authorization granted in 2003 by the Generalitat to the company Recuperació de Pedreres SL and ordered the restoration of the affected area.
Previously, in 2002, the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) declared the municipal license void for environmental and urban reasons. The landfill was located only 400 meters from populated areas, whereas according to regulations it should be more than 2,000 meters away.
The current government does not rule out calling the leaders of previous governments to account
Since 2017 the sentence was already in the execution phase but only today the first residue has been removed.
The mayor of Cruïlles, Monells and Sant Sadurní de l’Heura, Dani Encinas, thanked the platform and the inhabitants who made possible the emptying and restoration of the installation after years of struggle to make it possible.
“The work of the town hall will now be to ensure that the sentence is respected and that the impact is as little as possible for the inhabitants of the urbanization and its surroundings who have already suffered for twenty years from the landfill”, a- he declared.
The job of the city council will now be to ensure that the sentence is respected and that the impact on the inhabitants is as little as possible.
Paraire recalled that now local residents will have to endure the emptying process which will involve, among other things, noise and traffic from the works and it is likely that bad smells will also occur. “We ask for understanding,” he said.