Arnika: the Inspectorate imposed too low a fine on Draslovka

12.6.2006 - Kolín

On its press conference, the Czech Environmental Inspectorate announced the amount of fines which it imposed on LZ Draslovka Kolín for release of cyanides into Elbe in January. Immediately after the release, fines in the amount up to 10 million and 200 thousand Czech crowns were discussed. Finally, a fine of 2 million crowns was imposed on Draslovka for the biggest environmental accident of the recent years in the Czech Republic. "In view of the fact that Draslovka poisoned with cyanides an 80 kilometres long part of Elbe, we regard this sum as trifling," commented the head of the Toxics Free Future campaign of the Arnika Association, Jindřich Petrlík, DSc, the amount of the fine.

Also Iva Drdová, initiator of the petition for stopping cyanide manufacturing in Kolín, considers the fine as low. She added: "The fine should be high enough so that each company thinks over what it does. Two millions will not make industrial companies of the size of Draslovka behave more responsibly to the environment."

The Inspectorate justified the low amount of the fine by that it imposed a whole number of measures on Draslovka, which will cost the company tens of millions crowns. "In our opinion, Draslovka would have to adopt these measures anyway within the framework of issuance of so-called integrated permit, or the Inspectorate could require such measures from the company within its framework. Thus, it does not justify the ridiculously low fine for the biggest environmental accident of the recent decades in the Czech Republic," evaluated Petrlík the benevolent approach of the Inspectorate.

On its press conference, the Inspectorate also published an estimate of the amount of cyanides which were actually released from Draslovka into Elbe in January - this amount was 100 kg of toxic cyanides and 600 kg of total cyanides, in thirty cubic metres of water. This is ten times the amount admitted by Draslovka on a public discussion in Kolín. The reason is that concentration of cyanides in waste waters was higher than reported by Draslovka on the discussion. "Thus, this was the biggest cyanide accident in the Czech Republic from the 1960s, when 140 kg of cyanides were released into Jihlava, but the consequences were far from so high," said Petrlík.

A half of the fine of 2 million will end in the municipal budget of Kolín, and the second million in the State Environmental Fund (SFŽP). The head of the Water Protection Department of the Czech Environmental Inspectorate, Hynek Beneš, MSc, answered the Arnika's question whether one million crowns will be sufficient for revitalisation of the watercourse, that, in his opinion, it will be sufficient. In spite of this, not all damages caused by cyanides in Elbe are clear yet. This should be established by a comparative study of the Water Research Institute in summer of this year only. The Director of the Inspectorate, Jan Slanec, MSc, then added that damages established until now were ten tons of dead fish, having the value of 400 thousand crowns.


Arnika - Toxics and Waste Programme - Marek Jehlička

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