On Sunday, 11th January, 2015, a protest march was held in the city of Sebes, county Alba where over 2,500 people attended. Citizens have asked the authorities to take urgent measures against the pollution inflicted by SC Kronospan Sebes SA, a company that does not comply with environmental protection rules and refuses to acquire modern equipment necessary to give a precise measurement of the amount of formaldehyde emitted to the atmosphere.
Kronospan Romania is part of the multinational consortium formed around the Austrian company Kaindl that reunites the Krono Group from Switzerland and the company Kronospan. The multinational corporation is owned by the Martin and Ernst Kaindl brothers and its activity brought several controversies (creation of monopolies, irregularities in the purchase of land in Austria, illegal construction of industrial facilities with environmental approvals and building permit). In Sebes, Kronospan is present since 2004, the first controversies appearing when the company installed a second hand facility without authorization for the production of formaldehyde, which was moved from France following a serious accident.
Following the protest march, the recent statements made by the prefect Gheorghe Feneşer and addresses made by organizations, Kronospan invitation to conciliation, Civic Initiative Group Sebes and PrimaNatura want to be more specific.
Following a meeting between the Prefect of Alba, Gheorghe Feneşer, with the director of the Environmental Protection Agency of the Alba County, the Chief Commissioner of County Environment Guard Alba and Public Health Director, mr. prefect requested to be informed of the necessary equipment measurement and monitoring of formaldehyde. He also asked whether monitoring facilities exist in the country, who holds them or where to purchase. The Prefect’s stated intention is to monitor the state of emergency and to notify the public and public opinion about formaldehyde emissions in the atmosphere.
We believe it is imperative that such information to be brought to the population in a climate of total transparency for the inhabitants to be properly informed. We want to remind you that formaldehyde is a carcinogen according to the World Health Organization and European legislation (Regulation 605/2014). Formaldehyde is a danger to human health and the statements of the prefect show that he is not informed about the type of formaldehyde monitoring facilities currently existing in Sebes.
Two days ago, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests suspended giving the environment authorization to SC Kronospan Sebes SA until the clarifyinf of the appeals filed by two associations: PrimaNatura and The Independent Center for Environmental Protection Sebes.
Civic Initiative Group Sebes and Association PrimaNatura initially responded favorably to the invitation to conciliation of Kronospan Sebes, provided that at the meeting to be present citizens from Sebes and march participants, including media. Kronospan company refused arguing that the invitation refers only to the legal representatives of the Association PrimaNatura. At the same time, Kronospan Sebes proposed an open meeting with members of the organization or other active supporters, but on a different date (01/23/2015) and with a transmission in advance of a nominal table with people who will participate. Subsequently, Kronospan sent to many people the same kind of invitation to conciliation on 26/01/2015 but at different times. Accordingly, members of the Association PrimaNatura and Civic Initiative Group Sebes decided not to participate in conciliation if the meeting is held with closed doors, away from the public opinion.
Recall that the inhabitants of Sebes continue the protests on Sunday, 18 th of January, from 14.00 in the City Hall of Sebes until the chemical sector will be relocated at least 50 kilometers away from the city by Kronospan. Solidarity with the protests spread both at home and in Diaspora, as well as in other countries where Kronospan has working points.