Slovenia. Statement by the Anarchist Initiative Ljubljana on rally for nature along Soča in Anhovo. We added a video of the rally that took place on September 19.
On September 19 2020, we hiked, paddled and cycled along the Soča river, finishing together we gathered in Anhovo to protest against the industries and authorities that are destroying our air, water and soil for their profit. LET’S STOP the dictatorship of capital!
Capital kills life
The elites spare no one in their relentless pursuit of profit. In the same breath they incite nationalism by boasting of the unspoiled nature of Slovenia, offering people vouchers to hide from the ever increasing and more or less hidden fascism of society in its idyllic corners, and persistently covering up their murderous devastation projects in Šoštanj, Petišovci, Trbovlje and Anhovo. Behind the phrases about green ecological policies there lie higher mortality and shorter life expectancy, as well as focal points of lung and cancer diseases in severely degraded areas, where the lives and well-being of people and the environment are gambled away for the sake of a handful of profits.
In Anhovo, as in the entire Soča Valley, people have been exposed to systematic poisoning ever since cement plant started its operations in the early 1920’s: first with asbestos, and more recently with dangerous emissions of toxic substances resulting from the co-incineration of mostly imported waste, the excuse for which is so called ˝increasing energy efficiency˝ of Salonit Anhovo. Despite the proven content of carcinogens in emmisions and the fact that Anhovo ranks among the top localities in terms of deaths caused by the polluted environment, the legislation maintains extremely mild restrictions for the industry, and at the same time polluters are enthusiastically issued with environmental permits. All this proves a strong bond between the executors of ˝ecological˝ policies and greedy capitalists, and testifies to an alliance based on monstrous indifference to people’s lives.
Discharges of hazardous substances in Salonit Anhovo, which are in accordance with the existing legislation and restrictions, represent the vast majority of all hazardous discharges in the whole country. The quantities of individual compounds in emissions, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, benzene and other organic compounds, far exceed the amounts of these compounds from the incinerator in Celje or those from Lafarge Cement in Trbovlje at the time when waste co-incineration there was at its peak. In addition to those in Anhovo emmisions in the air and from there into the lungs of the surrounding population include also tens of kilograms of compounds of mercury, copper and lead per year. The absurd mildness of emission limits is made clear by a comparison with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) for emmisions of benzene, which is classified as a carcinogen in the first hazard category. Slovenian environmental legislation classifies it in the third category, subsuquently the annual allowed release of benzen of Salonit Anhovo alone exeeds the amount of permitted emissions state-wide under the WHO by more than 2000 (sic!) times.
Pollution does not stay only in the air. As a result of the long-term degradation of the environment in Soča Valley, the soil and thus locally produced food are also polluted, and last but not least, the water system. Salonit Anhovo draws the water it needs directly from the Soča River and all its wastewater ends up back in it. A high-profile but far from isolated case of drinking water pollution occurred in July this year, when due to an “unpleasant error” wastewater from Eternit Anhovo, a company closely connected to Salonit Anhovo, broke into the water supply network under the factory building , leaving residents in the wider area without drinking water.
Such emergencies are by no means merely individual mistakes in an otherwise flawlessly functioning system. It is the system that deliberately kills and devastates so that the capitalist elites can fill their pockets without being disturbed and all that with the full blessing of environmental politicians. The system itself is the fault and the problem. We must not allow the greedy murderous march of its representatives in steering committees, boards of trustees, ministries and state agencies to continue!
We stand in solidarity with the residents of Anhovo and of the wider Soča Valley, not with the capital!
Let’s stop the factory that is stopping our hearts and lungs!
On Saturday, September 19th 2020, we are joining the rally For Nature along Soča in Anhovo and we call upon everyone to support the struggle of the local community for life, for nature, for the future of us all.
Ljubljana, 15th of September 2020
Anarchist Initiative Ljubljana
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