A coalition of environmental NGOs and community groups held a small rally in front of Slovenia’s national parliament building today to bring attention to the dangerous levels of heavy metal poisoning in the country’s cities and towns.
The demonstration was held on the eve of a national conference, ’Responsibility for the Remediation of Environmental Pollution’, organized by Slovenia’s Human Rights Ombudsman and the National Council.
Dušan Plut, president of the Slovenian Movement for Sustainable Development and an organizer of the demonstration, said that one-quarter of Slovenia’s population lives in dangerously contaminated areas. The most polluted areas include the Celje basin, the Zasavje region and the Mežiška Valley in the north central part of the country. The nearby Šaleška Valley and areas around Jesenice in the northwest and Idrija, home to a former mercury mine in the west, are also dangerously contaminated. In some of these areas, Plut said, contamination levels in the soil are at levels ten to 50 times higher than normal.
Some of the demands Plut presented ahead of tomorrow’s conference include priority funding for environmental remediation, the independent oversight of polluters, and a ban on the cultivation of food and construction of housing in the most severely contaminated areas.
Tomorrow’s is the third conference on the theme ‘The Environment and Human Rights’ to be organized by the Human Rights Ombudsman and National Council. The 72nd Article of the Slovenian Constitution states that all citizens have the right to a healthy environment.
Here are half a dozen pics from today’s lunchtime gathering.