The Kramatorsk Ferroalloy Plant (Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast), established in the 1880s, resumed operation in 2014 – and the citizens literally learned about it from the air. The activity of the enterprise from the resumption of production began to be regularly accompanied by emissions into the atmosphere with the formation of an “orange cloud”. According to residents of the city, in recent years, more and more people in Kramatorsk have been suffering from allergic reactions and experiencing a significant deterioration of their health. After many measurements of background concentrations of pollutants in the air near the ferroalloy plant, levels significantly in excess of their permissible norms were found.
Petitions, complaints, appeals
Residents of the city began to record the air pollution caused by emissions from the enterprise and to write complaints to the local authorities demanding that they solve the problem of emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere from the “Kramatorsk Ferroalloy Plant”. An e-petition to close the plant for systematic violations of the environmental law emerged later. The e-petition contained information on the absence of treatment facilities, the recording of constant emissions of pollutants into the air during the smelting and bottling of ferroalloys, and soil and water pollution in the Torets River. The author of the petition proposed creating a temporary commission to study the plant’s compliance with the environmental legislation.
Gradually, the public became more active around the environmental issue: it took part in measurements of air samples in the city, which were carried out by a mobile environmental control laboratory, and activists initiated the monitoring of harmful emissions and public hearings on environmental safety in Kramatorsk.
At the same time, the company’s representatives have been assuring the public that the plant is equipped with the latest filters and its operation meets the requirements of Ukrainian legislation. Recent measurements of background concentrations by activists have shown that, despite assurances from government officials, the media, the owners, and the administration of the Kramatorsk Ferroalloy Plant, the environmental situation in the city has not changed.
Right to protection
In 2019, local residents and activists, with the help of legal experts, filed a lawsuit to bring the owners of the ferroalloy plant to justice for environmental pollution. In November, the application was sent to the Kramatorsk local prosecutor’s office. However, the bureau reports that the head of the Kramatorsk local prosecutor’s office has not considered the document since then. The prosecutor’s inaction was challenged by activists in court. Their complaint was upheld.