Zenica fights for the right to breathe
Zenica/ Bosnia and Herzegovina - 22 December 2014
A set of turbulent events connected to air pollution in Zenica in the previous months escalated in another civil protest on Sunday, 21th Dec 2014 organised by EkoForum, the local ecological NGO. About 300-400 people showed support to the legal actions planned against the ArcelorMittal corporation.
In the second half on November, the combination of unfavorable meteorological conditions and continuous industrial production made again its effect on the level of the pollution in town. The situation grew even more problematic when the air monitoring system ceased to operate and started to show strange results on the stations as well as on the web page. No reliable information about the real time air pollution was available to the public and therefore no measures could have been made.
In the beginning of December, 5 of the 9 environmental permits for ArcelorMittal expired, but the authorities seem to ignore this fact, so the steelworks were unaffected and continued production. This raged the public and EkoForum reacted to this by initiating discussion about legal actions in cooperation with the Aarhus Center Tuzla in the following months.
There have been more points that the EkoForum criticized, e.g. the lack of action of the Council and even adopting two apparently disagreeing air pollution reports from the first half-year and rejecting further discussion on a Council meeting, no clear information on inspections in the steelworks etc.
The goal of the EkoForum is now to gather enough support to submit a lawsuit against the stakeholders who ignore implementation of the law and the people responsible of menacing public health.