On-line Launch of the ‚Pollution-Free Sebes’ campaign

Press Release

For Immediate Distribution

Sebes/Romania, 4 December 2008 – The Independent Centre for the Development of Environmental Resources (ICDER) and the Indpendent Centre for Environmental Protection (ICEP) today launch the ‚Pollution-Free Sebes’online campaign. Its’ aim is to stop the pollution and gave health problems caused by Kronospan Sebes and implicitly to also put a halt to the company’s violations of relevant environmental law.

Kronospan is the largest producer of wood composite products in South-Eastern Europe and Kronospan Sebes is part of the Kronospan’s multinational infrastructure. In Romania the company currently operates in the towns of Sebes, Brasov and Constanta. In order to produce its wood composite products, it uses formaldehyde which is a substance that has been classified as causing cancer by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Sebes has the highest cancer rates in Romania. In the towns of Sebes and Brasov Kronospan’s activities gavely violate the law on environmental authorisation and the law on construction permits. The company’s activities have already created and significant impact on the affected population’s health and the environment.

Because of the company’s refusal to apply the law and because of the authorities’ flawed application of environmental laws, Kronopsan finds itself in a situation whereby it prefers to pay the rather symbolic fines to avoid legal consequences. Sadly this also means that it continues to pollute the enviorment and to put at risk human health.

This campaign is based on the combined efforts of ICDER and ICEP who after 2 years today are launching an on-line version of the campaign at http://www.sebesfarapoluare.ro as well as a blog in English language at http://www.pollutionfreesebes.wordpress.com.

To accompany the on-line launch both NGOs are also releasing today a common report entitled „The Kronospan Case – All at One glance.” It details the current situation of Kronospan’s operations in Romania and of the ‚Pollution-Free Sebes’ campaign. The web-sites explains the litigation cases promoted by both NGOs, the violations committed by Kronospan and details in a documented manner the enviornmental and human health risks associated with formaldehyde. In the ‚images’ section the visitor can access high resolution images taken by the ICDER team at the occasion of a recent field trip.

„We hope that when visiting the website people will feel a strong determination to get involved in contributing to resolve these problems which need great attention due to their seriousness but also in light of the authorities’ attitude towards enforcing environmental legisation,” says Stefania Simion, ICDER’s director and legal consultant.

„Kronospan is a company which gravely endangers our health – both human and enviromental and this in the name of something as low as profit”, adds Mircea Matei, president of ICEP Sebes.

Within the frame of this campaign ICDER offers support to ICEP as well as to other directly affected citizens and interested parties that wish to learn about their procedural rights in the relevant authorisation procedures. The campaign and its website also contain actions to raise public and media awarness on the Kronospan case study by presenting a complete evaluation of the company’s impact on the environment and public health; by documenting the legal problems confronted by the company and their offical transmission to legal and administrative authorites; both in Romania and at the EU level.

* * *

For any supplimentary information please contact: Stefania Simion at stefania.simion@centruldemediu.ro or Mircea Matei at matei.mircea@sebesfarapoluare.ro

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