Two Greenpeace Greenpeace activists climbed on Tuesday, shortly after 2 o’clock, on a multi-meter ladder on the balcony of the Department of Industry and Trade. Here they placed a banner called “Ministry of Coal and Smog”. They tried to point out that the Czech government could join Poland in its anti-air pollution limits. The armed police arrested the activist and removed the banner.
The organization expects its members to face a misdemeanor for disobeying the challenge. The police argued that the ministry’s building was one of the protected buildings. The police detained after half past three, the whole action lasted for about half an hour.
“Unfortunately, it is exactly what we were afraid of – Minister Tomáš Hüner has not yet warmed himself in the office and is already taking steps to keep billions of profits from his recent employers from mining and energy companies. The trouble is that it also threatens the health of millions of Europeans, “Jan Rovenský, head of the Greenpeace Czech Republic’s energy campaign, said on Tuesday morning.
The Czech Republic may be joining the air pollution limits approved by the European Union last year. The Ministry of Industry and Trade maintains that it seems appropriate to join it as an intervener on the side of Poland. This is apparent from the material of the ministry, which the government should be informed about.
According to Prime Minister Andrei Babis (ANO), the Ministry of Industry wants to join the lawsuit, while the environment department is fundamentally opposed. The Cabinet will have the final say, but Babiš adds that he is rather clinging to the negative attitude of Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO).
Minister Hüner (ANO) has been active in the power industry and industry throughout his entire career. From 1994 to 2002 he was CEO and Chairman of the Board of Severomoravská energetika, and in 2004-2006 he was CEZ’s CEO in Bulgaria. He worked at the Ministry of Industry between 2006-2011, as Deputy for the Industry and Energy Section. Between 2014 and 2015 he worked as Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Director of the Energy Resources of Vršanská uhelná finančníka Pavel Tkač. From 2015 he worked in Siemens Czech Republic.
Environmental organizations said in Tuesday’s press release that European states have voted for new stricter air pollution standards last year, and since August 2021, polluters have to start to do so. “The basic idea is simple – to clean the air against Europe from poisonous and dangerous substances, in other words, to force coal-fired power plants and other industrial plants to install effective filters or to shut down the dirtiest plants,” said environmental organizations.
“It is not surprising that Poland opposes this effort, which, due to the burning of coal in power stations and domestic boilers, violates the standards for harmful substances in the air many times, has in its territory 33 of the 50 most polluted cities in Europe and coal smoke regularly suffocates also the inhabitants of the Moravian-Silesian Region, “They added.