Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Petition to stop air pollution in Zenica

The current air-pollution situation in Zenica has led to
parodies by some.
(Source: Facebook.com/HocemoCistuZenicu)
Now here's something interesting I stumbled across on the Internet the other day: a petition doing the rounds at the moment which is aimed at garnering support towards stopping the current air pollution in Zenica - most of which come from the city's industrial plants.

In particular scope of the petitioners is ArcelorMittal, a steel company which is owned and run by the richest man in Europe, Lakshmi Mittal.

Many locals say that ArcelorMittal is the biggest culprit when it comes to pollution, and a Euronews piece from December 2011 supports the notion that the company has been environmentally-irresponsible since taking over Zenica's plants.

In the article, Samir Lemes from Eco Forum Zenica is said to have stated that 'ArcellorMittal had only met just above a fifth of its 100 million US dollar contractual obligation for protecting the (city's) environment, due by 2010.'

Meanwhile, other sources on the Internet - like this one from Esad Hecimovic - point to statistics which show the radical increase in a number of illnesses in the past ten years, particularly cancer.

Shown below is a diagram which outlines the number of reported cases of cancer in Zenica from 2002 to 2011.

(Note the stark increase from 892 cancer diagnoses in 2002 to 1888 in 2010.)

The red line indicates the trend in cancer illnesses, whilst the yellow line shows the
number of cancer deaths.

(Source: balcanicaucaso.org)
Citizens of Zenica have been calling for action to be taken by the plants for years now, with stencil graffiti reading "Hocemo Filtere!" ('We want filters [for the factories]!') a common sight across the city.

Unfortunately, as can be seen as I look out at the thick haze outside my windows at this minute, little has come of these protests to date. Regardless, many remain hopeful that increased public pressure - such as this petition - will lead to change finally occurring.

Created just 10 days ago, the petition currently has 1,203 signatures, with the aim of reaching 1,500.

For a more-detailed read, or to sign-up yourself, the page for the petition can be accessed by clicking HERE!

Personal opinion: As a resident of Zenica these past seven months, I hope that drastic action will take place to finally reduce the disgraceful levels of air pollution in this city. I have personally witnessed myself, as well as my partner and her family members, suffer the effects of this situation through an increasing frequency of respiratory-related illnesses. Most of these are short-term and, well, harmless to us (hey, we're off to the fresh air of Australia soon), but I fear for those who have to stay around and, possibly, put up with this for some years to come.

So, to Lakshmi Mittal and his ArcelorMittal corporation:

Get your act together!
Update: A keen-eyed German friend of mine got in touch with me, alluding to an ArcelorMittal press release which outlines the corporation's intention to install a de-dusting facility at the Zenica steel plant - as has previously been done at their factories in Vereeniging (South Africa) and Ostrava (Czech Republic). Lets hope that these filters will be installed in Zenica much sooner than later!

(PS. Thanks for the assistance, AT, my German pal!)

No comments:

Post a Comment