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BT Kemi, Teckomatorp, Skåne, Sweden


Description:

In 1964/65, the chemical company Bönnelyche & Thuröe AB, later called BT Kemi, moved from its location in the city of Malmö to the small community of Teckomatorp in Skåne. The company opened up their factory, where they produced a pesticide known as hormoslyr (same chemical as Agent Orange). It did not take long until the people living in Teckomatorp started to feel the effects of the factory. Allergies and miscarriages are a few of the effects the pollution from the factory had on the people, and gardeners experienced that their plants died.

A long turbulent process, involving public meetings, lawsuits, and the failure of authorities to follow environmental and regulatory laws took place. People living in Teckomatorp, together with an EJO from Uppsala called Miljöcentrum tried to prove how the factory was polluting and dumping toxic waste illegally by burying barrels of chemical waste in the ground around the factory and dumping it at night outside the village.

The authorities refused to listen but instead believed the company whose executives among other things ordered false test results that would let the authorities believe there was nothing wrong with the waste from the production. It was not until 400 barrels of highly toxic waste was found in 1977 that the factory was shut down in 1978. The sanitation work after this environmental disaster is still ongoing. (1-7) Its difficult to assess the number of people affected by this illegal activity; inhabitants in Teckomatorp at the time were 1,100.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:BT Kemi, Teckomatorp, Skåne, Sweden
Country:Sweden
State or province:Skåne
Location of conflict:Teckomatorp
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Chemical industries
Agro-toxics
Manufacturing activities
Specific commodities:Industrial waste
Pesticides
Manufactured Products
Chemical products

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The total number of excavated barrells of toxic waste from the factory was 800. The barrells contained, among other things, the highly toxic chemical called dinoseb. During the sanitation work that took place in 2007-2009, 80,000 tonnes of toxic soil was removed and as of today, a major part of the area still needs to be sanitized.

Type of populationRural
Affected Population:1,100
Start of the conflict:10/1974
Company names or state enterprises:BT Kemi from Sweden - Earlier Bönnelyche & Thuröe AB
Kemisk Værk Køge A/S from Denmark - owned BT Kemi from 1971. Kemisk Værk Køge A/S is today owned by U.S. company Sun Chemical
Relevant government actors:Svalöv Municipality , Licensing Board , The County Administrative Board , Health and Social Welfare Board
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Miljöcentrum: founded in 1971 and their first case became to defend people against BT Kemi, http://www.miljocentrum.se/

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsMiscarriages, allergies
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors

Outcome

Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
New legislation
Application of existing regulations
Project cancelled
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Even though the chemical factory BT Kemi was shut down, the area where the factory was located before it was demolished is heavily polluted, thus still being an uncertain threat to the health of the inhabitants and future generations of Teckomatorp. The sanitation work of the area is ongoing and will hopefully be completed by 2018, to a total cost of over 500 million SEK (~$76 million). Only a few people received compensation for their loss. (1, 6)

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Miljöbalken 1998:808,
http://www.notisum.se/rnp/sls/lag/19980808.HTM

(2) Spåren av giftet har aldrig försvunnig, Kvällsposten, 2012-11-10,
http://www.expressen.se/kvp/sparen-av-giftet-har-aldrig-forsvunnit/

(3) Miljöskandalen i Teckomatorp BT Kemi,
http://www.saxan-braan.se/history/btkemi.htm

(4) 36 år sedan BT Kemi-skandalen i Teckomatorp, På Väg, 2011-10-26,
http://www.pavag.nu/8/nyheter/artiklar/2011-09-26-36-ar-sedan-bt-kemi--skandalen-i-teckomatorp.html

(6) Fem år kvar av Sveriges största miljöskandal, Ny Teknik, 2013-10-20,
http://www.nyteknik.se/nyheter/energi_miljo/miljo/article3779532.ece

(7) Kampen mot BT Kemi, Dagens Nyheter, 2008-03-21,
http://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/kampen-mot-bt-kemi/

(1) BT Kemiskandalen, P3 Dokumentär (Radio Documentary),
http://sverigesradio.se/sida/avsnitt/83906?programid=2519

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Växtgiftskandalen i Teckomatorp,
http://www.expressen.se/kvp/vaxtgiftskandalen-i-teckomatorp/

Meta information

Contributor:Linda Dubec
Last update18/08/2019