Saturday, 16 December 2017

Spolana, ČEZ worst Czech polluters in 2016, seek improvement

ČTK |
12 October 2017

Prague, Oct 11 (CTK) - The Spolana chemical plant in Neratovice, central Bohemia, and the power plants operated by the state co-owned CEZ utility were the worst air polluters in the Czech Republic in 2016, according to the rating the Arnika environmentalist group released on Wednesday.

The rating is based on data in the country's Integrated Register of Pollution that operates under the Environment Ministry, in which 1,295 companies entered their emission data last year.

To defend themselves, Spolana and CEZ said they have invested in new technologies to reduce the emissions.

The volume of carcinogenic emissions decreased in the Czech environment last year, while the volume of greenhouse gases and mercury increased, Arnika said.

In the rating, Spolana figures in the first position in the category of carcinogenic and potentially carcinogenic substances.

In terms of carcinogens, it came the first for the third time in a row, in spite of having reduced emissions.

Unipetrol, a company controlling Spolana, said the latter reduced its volume of emissions by more than 10 percent last year.

"Spolana is the only Czech company to use trichlorethylene within the production of caprolactam, being its only producer, and therefore it is natural that we figure in the rating repeatedly," Unipetrol spokesman Pavel Kaidl said.

He said Spolana annually invests tens of millions of crowns in environment protection.

In terms of carcinogenic emissions, the east Bohemian ACO Industries company came the second, emitting 23.6 tonnes of harmful styrene in the air, 19 tonnes more than in 2015, which Arnika called a record hike.

Zuzana Siwkova, from ACO Industries, confirmed that the firm releases styrene as a side product, but said the plant's operation meets all directives and threatens the health of neither the staff nor people in the surroundings.

CEZ's Pocerady coal-fired power plant ended "first" as the worst greenhouses gas emmitant, followed by other two north Bohemian power plants operated by CEZ, Prunerov and Tusimice.

CEZ spokesman Ota Schnepp said CEZ has invested tens of millions of crowns in greening the plants, and it has sharply reduced all types of harmful emissions since the early 1990s.

The Dukovany nuclear power plant, south Moravia, also belonging to CEZ, was the biggest emmitant of substances harming the ozone layer.

Dukovany's spokesman Jiri Bezdek said the plant appeared at the top of the rating due to the modernisation of its fire extinguishing system last year. In connection with the system's tests, it reported an increased use of halon, the gas that is used to put out fire. Such a situation should not repeat any more, he said.

Arnika has been annually releasing the pollution rating for 13 years with the aim to motivate polluters to seek a change. Its analyses and ratings can be found on www.znecistovatele.cz.

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