New protest over air pollution in eastern Serbia: Kids breathing lead, arsenic

NEWS 14.10.2019 19:08
Source: N1

The residents of the town of Bor in eastern Serbia renewed protests over air pollution and gave the Zijin company and the town’s authorities a ten-day deadline to inform them what they did to solve the problem, N1 reported on Monday.

 Several hundred of Bor people blocked the company’s main entrance, saying since Ziyin took over the level of pollution went up 200 times and demanding the environmental inspectors to do their job.

Ziyin is one of China’s biggest gold producers and the second-biggest producer of copper ore, which became a major shareholder of Serbia’s sole copper complex RTB Bor as of December 2018.

“Our children breath arsenic, lead, nickel, mercury… That’s horrifying,” one resident told N1, adding that the level of pollution was over 20 times higher than the allowed level.

Bor local authorities implied the gathering was politically motivated, but an N1 reporter did not see any political symbol anywhere where the people protested.

The Bor Mayor Aleksandar Malikic of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) said he could not talk to N1 because he was busy, but added everything was being done to solve the problem.

The residents said they did not believe it.

On Friday, October 4, during the protest, he promised to meet the residents next Monday, but that had not happened.

At the end of September, the level of sulphur dioxide was up to 2,000 microgrammes per a cubic meter of air, while the allowed level is 125, and 500 microgrammes are considered damaging to human health.