Just in the past week, air quality monitoring stations in Slavonski Brod made as many as 30 readings which exceeded the amount of harmful gases allowed by regulations. This was one of the reasons for a press conference held by Eko Integral, an environmental protection NGO which has been fighting for the last seven years against air pollution in the city, which is mainly caused by an oil refinery in Bosanski Brod, on the other side of the Sava river. The main problem is the fact that Bosanski Brod is located in Republika Srpska, which is part of neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, reports Glas Slavonije on January 28, 2016.
"We cannot just monitor the situation any longer. For seven years we have been trying to fix this problem", says the association secretary Ante Nikolaš. The contamination levels which are very near the dangerous threshold, especially since the beginning of this year, certainly affect the health of citizens. "According to World Health Organization standards, the recorded levels of airborne particles can affect human health", said Ante Cvitković, the director of the Institute of Public Health of the Brod-Posavina County.
Although the air quality monitoring stations show that the oil refinery on the other bank of the Sava river is the dominant pollutant, Russian owners of the refinery and local authorities deny it. They say that the refinery has an environmental permit issued by the Ministry of Ecology and that the actual targets of attacks by Croatian Members of European Parliament are the Russian owners of the refinery. The company management claims that the refinery was undergoing maintenance and was not operational from 16 December to 27 January, so the charges about pollution are allegedly unfounded. They say that the old vacuum plant, which was considered to be the main pollutant, was suspended in 2013 and has not been put into operation ever since.
In an open letter addressed to all state institutions, president of Eko Integral Peter Tot-Đerđ states that in recent years the oil refinery has not reduced the intensity of its operations and demands that the Parliamentary Committee for Environmental Protection establishes why their previous conclusions have not been implemented. He adds that they have been trying to internationalize the problem with Croatian Members of the European Parliament who will be invited to come to Brod to help them improve the air quality in the city. They also remind everyone that the action plan has not yet been prepared and that there is no official agreement signed between Croatia and Republika Srpska about environmental standards, which was long ago ordered by the Parliamentary Committee for Environmental Protection.