20 March 2019, Wednesday, 7:03
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HR Defender: Managing Board Of Svetlahorsk Plants Is Committing Environmental Crime

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PHOTO: SPRING96.ORG

The residents of Svetlahorsk continue their struggle to protect the environment.

Svetlahorsk environmental activists continue to struggle against the pulp and paperboard plant (PPP) and the bleached pulp mill (BPM) in order to protect the environment. After the Chinese partners who built this plant and tried to start it left at the end of last year, Belarusian specialists are trying to carry out commissioning work independently, writes the human rights center “Viasna”.

The residents of Svetlahorsk and Yakimava Slabada feel the results of these attempts periodically. Since the beginning of the year, the town and the village have already felt some strong smell several times.

“When our activists complained to the leadership of the PPP, they only apologized for the inconvenience, because they had an accident. They built a new plant, which also did not work at full capacity, and there was already an accident after an accident. The equipment is not set up properly, there is no output of the required quality and, apparently, it will not happen, because there is always something breaking there,” Svetlahorsk human rights activist Alena Maslyukova clarifies the situation.

Another incident occurred on Saturday, January 19. In the time interval between 13:30 and 14:10, Svetlahorsk public activists recorded a strong discharge of a dark brown dirty liquid with foam from a storm sewer pipe from the territory of the plant into Biarezina river. This was accompanied with a characteristic smell.

“We immediately summoned specialists from the Svetlahorsk district department of the Ministry of Emergency Situations to the scene. Then we called the police department, where we were advised to contact the Emergency Situations Department. We told them to record the fact that there was a clear violation of environmental legislation. They registered the complaint, and later they took an explanation from me. Twice we tried to call the prosecutor's office, but no one answered there, ” says Alena Maslyukova.

The officers of the Emergency Situations Department, who arrived at the scene, made a videotape and informed us that their duty officer was trying to reach various authorities: the head doctor of the Salihorsk Zonal Center for Hygiene and Epidemiology, the head of the Svetlahorsk district environmental inspection, the chairman of the Svetlahorsk district executive committee. The situation at the BPM was also reported to the deputy director of the enterprize Kamandzirchyk.

“It is obvious that the plant’s management is committing an environmental crime. In fact, by their economic activities they harm the environment and violate people's right to live in favorable conditions,” adds Alena Maslyukova.