Spolana tops Czech polluters’ rankings

The Spolana chemical plant in Neratovice in Central Bohemia, tops the rankings of the biggest Czech polluters in 2016, presented by environmental association Arnika on Wednesday. Other large polluters include the power plants operated by the state dominated ČEZ utility.

Photo: Tomáš AdamecPhoto: Tomáš Adamec The rating is based on data in the country's Integrated Register of Polluters held by the environment ministry, in which 1,295 companies entered their emission data last year.

According to Arnika’s report, the volume of carcinogenic emissions decreased in the Czech environment last year, while the volume of greenhouse gases and mercury went up.

Spolana tops the category of carcinogenic and potentially carcinogenic substances emitted for the third time in a row, in spite of having reduced its emissions.

Unipetrol, the company controlling Spolana, said it cut its volume of emissions by more than 10 percent last year.

“Spolana is the only Czech company to use trichlorethylene as part of the manufacture of caprolactam, being its only producer, and therefore it is natural that we figure in the rating repeatedly,” Unipetrol spokesman Pavel Kaidl told the Czech News Agency.

He said Spolana annually invests tens of millions of crowns in environment protection. In terms of carcinogenic emissions, the east Bohemian ACO Industries company placed second in the rating, emitting 23.6 tonnes of harmful styrene in the air, 19 tonnes more than in 2015. That figure presents a record hike, according to Arnika.

Zuzana Siwkova, from ACO Industries, confirmed that the company releases styrene as a side product, but said the plant’s operation meets all directives and presents no threat to people’s health.

ČEZ’s Počerady coal-fired power plant is the worst greenhouses gas emmitant, followed by other two north Bohemian power plants operated by ČEZ, Prunéřov and Tušimice.

ČEZ spokesman Ota Schnepp said the company has invested tens of millions of crowns in greening the plants, and it has sharply reduced all types of harmful emissions since the early 1990s.

The Dukovany nuclear power plant in south Moravia, which also belongs to ČEZ, was the biggest producer of substances harming the ozone layer.

Dukovany’s spokesman Jiří Bezděk said the plant appeared at the top of the rating due to the modernisation of its fire extinguishing system last year. In connection with the system's tests, it reported an increased use of halon, the gas that is used to put out fire. Such a situation should not be repeated, he said.

Arnika has been annually releasing the pollution rating for 13 years with the aim to motivate polluters to seek a change. Its analyses and ratings can be found on www.znecistovatele.cz.