Industrial waste: Commission refers Croatia to Court over its failure to protect citizens from industrial waste in Biljane Donje landfill

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Brussels, 8 March 2018

The European Commission decided today to refer Croatia to the Court of Justice.

The European Commission decided today to refer Croatia to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to ensure an adequate level of protection of human health and the environment at "Crno brdo" site in Biljane Donje, near the town of Benkovac, less than 50 meters from houses.

The waste should have been managed in accordance with the EU rules on waste (EU Waste Framework Directive, Directive 2008/98/EC) by the end of 2015 at the latest. Even though Croatia committed to address this situation on several occasions, there has been no progress on the ground. For almost four years, the industrial waste deposited at "Crno brdo" illegal landfill has not been cleared and properly managed, threatening to contaminate groundwater and air.

The location is currently used as a depository of a large amount of production residue of processing of ferromanganese and silicomanganese. As the Croatian authorities failed to classify that material as waste in line with Directive, approximately 140,000 tons of this potentially harmful stone aggregate are deposited directly on soil, threatening local inhabitants and the environment. Under EU law, Croatia should have put in place measures for the protection of groundwater and the prevention of the dispersion of the harmful particles through the air.

The European Commission opened the infringement proceedings against Croatia in March 2015, followed by a reasoned opinion sent in November 2016. Since there has been no progress in ensuring proper waste management in Biljane Donje that the waste does not endanger human health and harm the environment, the Commission decided today to refer Croatia to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Background

The Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC) aims to protect the environment and human health by preventing or reducing the adverse impacts of the generation and management of waste and by reducing overall impacts of resource use and improving the efficiency of such use.

Under these rules, Member States must recover and dispose of waste in a manner that does not endanger human health and the environment, prohibiting the abandonment, dumping or uncontrolled disposal of waste.

More information

-    General information on infringements proceedings in the areas of Environment

-    On the overview of implementation of EU environment policies and laws in Member States, see Environmental Implementation Review

-    On the key decisions of the March infringements package, please refer to the full MEMO/18/1444

IP/18/1448

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