Utilize este identificador para referenciar este registo: http://hdl.handle.net/10451/6018
Título: Risks, alternative knowledge strategies and democratic legitimacy: the conflict over co-incineration of hazardous industrial waste in Portugal.
Autor: Jerónimo, Helena Mateus
Garcia, José Luís
Palavras-chave: Risco ambiental
Incineração de resíduos
Data: 2011
Editora: Routledge
Citação: Jerónimo, Helena Mateus and Garcia, José Luís (2011). Risks, alternative knowledge strategies and democratic legitimacy: the conflict over co-incineration of hazardous industrial waste in Portugal. In: Journal of Risk Research, 14:8, pp. 951-967
Resumo: The decision to incinerate hazardous industrial waste in cement plants (the socalled ‘co-incineration’ process) gave rise to one of the most heated environmental conflicts ever to take place in Portugal. The bitterest period was between 1997 and 2002, after the government had made a decision. Strong protests by residents, environmental organizations, opposition parties, and some members of the scientific community forced the government to backtrack and to seek scientific legitimacy for the process through scientific expertise. The experts ratified the government’s decision, stating that the risks involved were socially acceptable. The conflict persisted over a decade and ended up clearing the way for a more sustainable method over which there was broad social consensus – a multifunctional method which makes it possible to treat, recover and regenerate most wastes. Focusing the analysis on this conflict, this paper has three aims: (1) to discuss the implications of the fact that expertise was ‘confiscated’ after the government had committed itself to the decision to implement co-incineration and by way of a reaction to the atmosphere of tension and protest; (2) to analyse the uses of the notions of ‘risk’ and ‘uncertainty’ in scientific reports from both experts and counter-experts’ committees, and their different assumptions about controllability and criteria for considering certain practices to be sufficiently safe for the public; and (3) to show how the existence of different technical scientific and political attitudes (one more closely tied to government and the corporate interests of the cement plants, the other closer to the environmental values of reuse and recycling and respect for the risk perception of residents who challenged the facilities) is closely bound up with problems of democratic legitimacy. This conflict showed how adopting more sustainable and lower-risk policies implies a broader view of democratic legitimacy, one which involves both civic movements and citizens themselves.
Peer review: yes
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10451/6018
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