GB No. 1(20)/96
In November 1995 the Town Council in Zgierz resolved to establish the partnership "Interselect" with the Italian firm CO.GE.S., an intermediary of another Italian company Thermoselect Srl. The aim of the partnership is to build a waste incineration plant.
The incinerator is to burn 150 thousand tons annually: hazardous and industrial waste is planned to make 60% of the total. As there is not a sufficient hazardous waste supply to be found in Zgierz, it is assumed that it will be brought from other places, probably even from all over Poland.
The investment costs, amounting to 191 million Mark, are to be covered by foreign credits as well as home finances: from funds for environmental protection as well as town budgets.
In relation to the above investment Greenpeace International alerted the Waste
Prevention Association "3R" (Ogólnopolskie Towarzystwo Zagospodarowania
Odpadów - OTZO) to the criminal activities of the Thermoselect company. According to the
Public Prosecutor's Office in Verbania, Italy, where a Thermoselect pilot plant is
located, and to the ecological organisation OPEN, Belgium, one can find that:
Bearing in mind all of the above facts, OTZO demands that the Zgierz Town Council shall give up the Thermoselect incinerator building plan and stop wasting public funds for the project that has not been thoroughly studied. Instead, actions aimed at implementing of environmentally-friendly methods of waste management should be initiated.
The local community alarmed by emissions from the plant turned to the authorities with
a question whether the company had permits required for this kind of enterprise. What
appeared was that Kiss had no such concession and the waste utilisation was illegal. The
authorities decided to shut down the plant.
The Technical Committee of the region permitted the company to build a new installation within 3 months, put it into operation and carry on experiments within another 6 months, and then to dismantle the plant within 3 months after the license expiration date.
Since the project was presented as experimental, the Committee did not demanded Thermoselect to obey environmental protection law.
At the beginning of January 1992 the installation was completed.
The fact that the permit was issued for utilisation of such a large amount of waste
seems worthy of attention: in experimental plants of this kind small quantities are burnt
- up to several hundreds of kilograms per day.
In the course of the investigation it was discovered that hazardous waste was illegally being stored on the grounds.
In June 1992 Prosecutor Antonio Simone had the installation stopped and applied to the court for punishing the management of Thermoselect for breaking the environmental protection law as well as forgery.
Günter Kiss was sentenced to 11 months imprisonment and the other members of the Board - 3 to 6 months.
Nevertheless, in October 1992 the plant was put into operation again.
The data is utterly contradictory to Thermoselect's claims that the company
managed to find a technology capable of total waste utilisation, reprocessing waste to
useful products (gas, building materials and metal scrap) and, at the same time, of
generating as little as 1% waste that demands storing. Standard incinerators generate a
half less amount of waste that has to be stored.
Thanks to the above decision the Thermoselect plant was not obliged to obey
environmental protection law that applies to waste incinerators.
The reason for the first scandal was the fact that in 1991 Günter Kiss offered an 800 thousand Swiss Franc bribe to the paper Il Mattino, connected with the political party Lega del Ticino.
At the end of 1994 Thermoselect tried to bribe a member of a tender commission responsible for the selection of waste utilisation technology to be applied in Ticino.
Both the bribes were to enable Thermoselect to win the contract for building an
incinerator in Switzerland. (Eventually, the canton authorities abandoned the incinerator
scheme in favor of an alternative method of waste management.)
With help of bribed officers, the company tried to secretly change conditions of the contract for building a municipal waste incinerator in Karlsruhe. In permits granted earlier the limits of heavy metals emission were changed from 0,01 mg to 0,03 mg. Moreover, by means of a forged enclosure to the contract the company tried to have incineration of the hazardous (special) waste allowed.
Legal proceedings have been instituted against Thermoselect and the corrupt officers. The City Office in Karlsruhe, in turn, will have to sue their own decision of permitting Thermoselect to build a plant.
translated by M. Maciejewska
Pictures come from the protest meeting against Thermoselect plant in Zgierz.