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Eko Kvarner Demands Resignation from Environment Minister Zmajlović

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After Croatian environmental protection minister publicly admitted, in a meeting with representatives of protesters from Slavonski Brod on November 10, that he couldn’t do anything to prevent the pollution coming from the oil refinery in Bosanski Brod, across the Sava River in BiH, environmental association Eko Kvarner demanded, on November 11, his resignation.

For several months now the citizens of Slavonski Brod protest the pollution coming from across the Sava River (Photo: Zamirzine)For several months now the citizens of Slavonski Brod protest the pollution coming from across the Sava River (Photo: Zamirzine)

“Yesterday, Zmajlović publicly admitted that he can’t successfully pursue his office and protect the environment and the natural habitat in the Republic of Croatia and, therefore and more importanly, the health of the citizens”, Eko Kvarner said in a public statement signed, on the behalf of the organisation, by its president Vjeran Piršić.

Eko Kvarner adds that with the fact that it admitted it was powerless, through the statement of the competent minister, the Government actually admitted that the wellbeing and the livelyhood of the citizens of Slavonski Brod and its area is an acceptable collateral damage to the protection of interests of the Russian owners of Bosanski Brod refinery, who choose to process low quality Siberian oil and use heating oil as main source of energy (instead of much cleaner natural gas) to maximise their profit margins.

Zmajlović added, in his meeting with the citizens of Slavonski Brod, that they will have to put up with such unacceptable pollution for at least two more years. Eko Kvarner notes that, in addition to unpleasantly smelling components, the pollution also contains several substances that present a serious health hazard, such as the cancerogeneous benzen gas, which is a serious threat for the human health.

The association adds that Zmajlović was already involved in several questionable and disputed moves, including his scandalous approach to the Plomin C thermoelectric power plant project and the revocation of three important envirionmental bills, prepared by his predecessor Mirela Holy, from adoption procedure in the Sabor (Croatian parliament).

“Therefore, we tend to suspect the validity of speculations that appeared in the media that minister Zmajlović received death-threats over his decision not to send the Law on Waste Disposal for addoption in the Sabor, because he acted according to expectations of many special interests and lobby groups, even criminal organisations, who expected from him to protect their smoothly running business deals, which would have been under threat if Holy’s laws were adopted and implemented”, Eko Kvarner says, adding that it considers the statements about alleged threats against Zmajlović as a pure manipulation aimed to restore his shaken credibility.

Piršić concludes that the whole situation in which such an important ministry is led by a person who admits publicly his powerlessness and lack of ability defies any logic. Eko Kvarner expects from PM Zoran Milanović to fire the minister unaware of the paradox, just as any employer would do with an employee that publicly admitted he or she can’t perform his tasks. (Source: Zamirzine)

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