Help PMA grow | Petition forms | Site map | PMA main page
Yugoslavia Faces Ecological Disaster, Group Warns
Aug 15, 1999 - http://www.dogpile.com- search newswires
BELGRADE (Reuters) - Yugoslavia faces ecological disaster from 11 weeks of NATO bombing unless urgent measures are taken in the worst affected areas, an international humanitarian group was quoted Saturday as saying.
The Beta news agency said a team of Russian, Austrian, Greek and Swiss experts from the Focus organization visited Yugoslavia last month and carried out chemical and radiological analysis in towns that had suffered most damage.
``The most dangerous ecological consequences arose from the bombing of the industrial complex in Pancevo, the oil refinery in Novi Sad, the fuel depots in Smederevo and Pristina and the transformer stations in Nis and Bor,'' the team said in its preliminary report.
``Based on the analysis results, the expert team concluded that the release of extremely toxic and carcinogenic substances poses an extreme ecological threat in the FRY (Yugoslavia),'' it said.
The report said that some eight tons of mercury had seeped out of a bomb-damaged electrolysis plant in Pancevo, near Belgrade, ``which poses a danger to human health and the environment in the central regions of the FRY and the Danube basin.''
``The release of petroleum, oil, diesel and artificial fertilizers into the soil and water reservoirs has resulted in the contamination of nearby facilities, towns, villages, water and mud in channels and rivers, including the Danube. This could result in changes in the ecological balance in the region and irreversible mutation in plants and animals,'' the report said.
The team called for international organizations to resume their activities in Yugoslavia as soon as possible in order to prevent ``a possible ecological collapse.''
They also recommended that urgent measures be taken to seal off the polluted areas and prevent the transfer of toxic substances to settlements and the flow of polluted sewage water into the Danube.
It was the second such international team to visit Yugoslavia since the end of the NATO air war. A United Nations team that arrived last month said there was no evidence the bombing had caused an ecological catastrophe but called for urgent action to deal with some of the damage.
The U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) said Thursday it was investigating possible damage to human health caused by NATO's use of shells tipped with depleted uranium during the Kosovo conflict.
Return to the 'NATO Bombing - has it brought peace to the Balkans?' Alert.