The Global Ispat Coke Plant (GIKIL) company from Lukavac, eastern Bosnia, received a five-year water permit from the Sava river Water Area Agency, which is one of the preconditions for gaining an environmental permit. However, environmental protection societies are sceptical about GIKIL’s intentions to improve their waste processing capabilities.
The GIKIL company said they did everything to get the plant working again and to eliminate all the drawbacks polluting the environment through more than 40 projects. They added that they invested three of the planned five million marks (around €2.5 million) for this purpose.
“They came here to inspect the plant and concluded they could give us the water permit with clearly defines projects and goals which must be implemented in the coming period,” Zuhdija Aganovic, the GIKIL CEO said.
Last year, the GIKIL company caused an ecological incident when an ammonia water reservoir leaked into the Spreca river, polluting the surrounding area. Following the incident, the company built a new reservoir, coke gas coolers and ammonia washer vessel and implemented other recommendation.
“We’ve built a totally new ammonium sulphate line, so now we have two lines of ammonium sulphate working in parallel, and we did so to improve the quality of wastewater that goes into the Spreca river,” the Head of the GIKIL production department, Fuad Muminovic, told N1.
The company also said they are monitoring exhaust gases from their plans which they soon plan to publish.
Lukavac residents, however, do not believe the Plant will do anything to improve the way they work. They fear the Plant will continue releasing pollutants into the air and water.
“They haven’t done anything, so far. Whenever they weld a tank or clean the plant grounds, inspections rush to say they fulfilled all the conditions to get the plant running again. The plant hasn’t done anything,” Tahir Hrnjic from the Environmental Protection Forum said. “We are against the Plant getting the environmental permit as long as they don’t fix the emission of harmful gases and pollutants into the air and water.”
Last year was the best business year for the company, but now they say they are losing millions ever since the environmental inspection ordered the plant shutdown.
The water permit imposes a number of measures which must be implemented in the near future, such as the installation of a wastewater separator, which will further purify the water and discharged it into the Spreca river. This separator should be installed by the end of March.