The Tetovo NGO-s “Eco Guerilla” and “Mother and Child” have reached an important point in their mission: a reasonably high degree of public awareness about the danger of environmental pollution. The great support we have received by the population helped us reach a successful conclusion to this phase; therefore we would like to share with you the results of the citizen’s pressure during this period of time. Four years ago, when we started our protests, we believed Jugohrom was the main polluter, contributing by 40% to the overall pollution. However, the official data from the measurements of the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning showed a different picture. The contribution of Jugohrom in the overall air pollution of Tetovo was as high as 60%, thus ranking our city as “the most polluted city in Europe”, according to the World Health Organization. The annual average of PM10 concentration with Jugohrom working reached as high as 145 in 2015, whereas a significant drop was noted in 2017. Without Jugohrom’s pollution, the annual of average PM10 concentration in 2017 was 61. As a reminder, in 2015 Tetovo was ranked number one among the most polluted cities in Europe whereas in 2017 it ranked the 7th in Macedonia.
A terrifying evidence is the number of children aged 0 to 6, suffering from respiratory diseases. In 2015 when Jugohrom was working, the number of ill children was 31,446 whereas in 2017 (with Jugohrom out of sight) this number dropped to 18,578.
Hence, the new facts introduced herein do not bring our mission to an end. We now begin a new mission – LEGAL AID for all the citizens whose health has been severely harmed by the ECOCIDE caused by this industrial plant. In cooperation with lawyers, legal and environmental experts, we will assist all harmed citizens in issuing civil lawsuits and in seeking for compensation for the damage caused to them. Furthermore, we will file a criminal report with the Prosecutor’s Office against those who have allowed this slow and silent killing of Tetovo citizens, and beyond. We believe that the judiciary is in the course of becoming independent and consequently this country’s Constitution will have to be respected.
The consequences that the citizens of Veles have been suffering until now, even 15 years after finally shutting down their polluting plant, where the soil is contaminated and the negative effects on people’s health are still present, we do not want to see the same happening to our cities.
We strongly applause to the criminal charges brought by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Bitola against REK Bitola and their ex-directors, who by their actions have put in danger the citizen’s lives and the environment. The same kind of demand for accountability should be made against the culprits in the region of Tetovo and Gostivar. Air, water, soil and citizen’s life should be above everything else. Any failure to compensate the citizens of Tetovo for this ECOCIDE with fatal consequences will get an appropriate and harsh response by all of us. Zero tolerance!