Polluter Lied, Still Denies Legal Liability
Toxic Spill Out of Control
The only people who should benefit from a mine are those who care about the condition of the local environment -- the people. Apparently we cannot trust foreign corporations to behave in the interests of locals, so their presence should be banned until they convincingly show otherwise. To a corporation, this might seem like a game, but people's lives and livelihoods depend upon a sustainable environment.
Bay of Ierissos in State of EmergencyIerissos, Greece -- Port authorities have issued a fishing ban in the bay of Ierissos, one of the richest fisheries in Greece and major source of income for the residents of the area.
The regional administration of central Macedonia is expected to declare a state of emergency in the bay of Ierissos, in northern Greece, due to the continuing discharge of toxic mine waste by Toronto-based TVX into the bay. The Municipality of Stagira-Akanthos, where the spill has occurred, is calling for immediate action from all responsible authorities to stop the ongoing pollution of the bay.
Liquid wastes began pouring into the bay around December 7 when, due to high rainfall and underground mining, their volume increased dramatically and exceeded the capacity of the detoxification unit. TVX Corporation illegally failed to notify the authorities of the spill until December 10, when a one-kilometre strech of the bay, directly in front of Stratoni had already been coloured red by the wastes.
Says Tolis Papageorgiou, a civil engineer and resident of Ierissos "TVX has grave responsibility for not informing the local people about the health risks of the spill. Furthermore, they repeatedly tried to mislead the public, falsely claiming that the red color of the bay was merely "visual pollution"". However, the Prefecture of Halkidiki that analyzed samples of the runoff, found it to be extremely acidic (pH=2), containing high levels of heavy metals. With the water treatment plant not operating, proper detoxification of the liquid wastes is impossible, despite the company's so-called efforts to neutralize them at their source.
More than ten days later, the situation remains out of control. About 15000 cubic metres of wastes per day continue to pour into the bay of Ierissos and pollution has already spread 12 kilometres to the south. "It is evident that this mining poses a serious threat not only to the health of the bay, but also to the livelihoods of the people that depend on it. What we have is a clear conflict of interests between the foreign mining company and the people of this area", says Pavlos Tome, deputy Mayor of Stagira-Akanthos.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court ruling that prohibits mining under Stratoniki was officially served to TVX yesterday, but the company has ignored it and continues to mine. Local residents are taking all the legal steps to ensure that the court ruling is obeyed.
Email this article Sign up for free Progress Report updates via email
What should happen next? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
Page One Page Two Archive Discussion Room Letters What's Geoism?