Protesters from Slavonski Brod meet with PM

Protesters from Slavonski Brod meet with PM Izvor: N1

Representatives of protesters from Slavonski Brod, who staged a rally over air and water pollution in their town outside the government offices in Zagreb on Saturday, held talks with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who, they said, would state the government's position on their demands next week.

The talks were also attended by Environmental Protection and Energy Minister Tomislav Coric and Health Minister Milan Kujundzic.

The talks focused on which of the protesters' demands could be met right away, and as for some of the demands regarding the modernisation of the oil refinery in Brod, in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was said that the process had slowed down due to a recent environmental incident involving water pollution.

A representative of the protesters, Mladen Sudar, said that they had been told that the recent mutual expulsion of one diplomat each between Russia and Croatia would not affect the modernisation of the Russian-owned refinery in Brod.

Sudar said that the process to convert the oil refinery into one operating on natural gas instead of oil was not easy and that it was important to reduce pollution generated in Slavonski Brod itself by promoting energy efficiency projects with the help of EU funds.

Another representative of the protesters, Ivana Smolcic-Jerkovic, said that she was satisfied with the meeting with the government officials and that the protesters had been promised a study on the impact of pollution on human health in Slavonski Brod.

The protesters said that due to glitches in the communication and incomplete information, they had requested that the government appoint a special commissioner for Slavonski Brod to keep them informed of the ongoing processes.

"They understand that we are nervous because this situation has been going on for nine years, and we need action, we need them to do something," she said.

The rally was attended by some 200 residents of Slavonski Brod, who demanded the right to clean air and water and a life in dignity in their town.

The protesters also demanded the adoption of a plan for the modernisation of the oil refinery in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its conversionto one operating on natural gas, as well as more frequent water testing, funds for the treatment of diseases that can be linked to low-quality air, and the adoption of measures to keep young families in Slavonski Brod.

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