Activists from Greenpeace on Monday, October 22, staged a protest against coal mining in Upper Nitra by flying a blimp directly over the area with a banner reading, “If you're reading this, you're breathing pollution from coal”. Greenpeace sought to draw attention to the Slovak government’s support of coal mining in the region with money from the sale of carbon-dioxide emission quotas. The environmentalists called on the government to redirect the money from the sale of emission quotas to projects that would directly help the locals in Upper Nitra instead of financially supporting industrial companies.
"The Slovak government supports a sphere that wouldn't be able to survive without state subsidies, and it's only a matter of time when it will cease to exist. The only argument for this is [the support of] employment in Upper Nitra, which could have been addressed long ago, however. It's one-sided support for an industry without any long-term solutions that's keeping the local population in this dire situation. It's about time to begin to support jobs that are less dangerous for human health and will be able to prepare people for a future that entails an inevitable halt to coal mining," said Pavol Široký of Greenpeace for the TASR newswire.
According to Široký, the Government has allocated almost €500 million for the support of coal mining in the region in 2007-12, while electricity made of coal represents only between 6-8 percent of the total output in Slovakia.
Green projects are the only way, the SITA newswire quoted Široký as saying, to reduce the negative impact of brown coal mining and burning on people’s health and the environment. “For the last five years support that has been directed into brown-coal mining represents almost €500 million. If only half of the sum was invested in green projects, savings, public transport and similar [projects], then the number of new jobs could go up by a third,” he said. According to Široký, Slovakia could acquire up to 6,500 new jobs in this way. According to a 2009 study of the European Environmental Agency the Nováky power station is causing damage to people’s health and the environment, costing over €80 million on an annual basis.
(Source: TASR, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.