Local authorities tolerate operation of a non-authorized industrial polluter
"MMZ" SAtd is a metal products factory in the town of Ribnita in the separatist region of Transnistria, which is the 3rd largest taxpayer in the region's budget.
It was founded in 1985 for the reprocessing of scrap metal. Since the first year of its existence, the designed metallurgical equipment proved to be inoperable. Both the furnaces and the continuous casting mechanism had a series of serious design defects, which did not allow the machines to operate at a high level of performance.
Since 1985, "MMZ" SAtd has undergone a series of reconstruction works that were completed in September 1999, after which the productivity from 700 thousand tons increased to 1 million tons/year.
In 2018, the plant produced almost 502.9 thousand tons of steel and 497.9 thousand tons of laminates, being 7.1% and 10.3%, respectively, more than in the previous year.
On March 5, 2019, an incident occurred that caused an increase in radiation levels by 300 times more than the permissible norms, the authorities first hid the truth, then everything came to light from anonymous sources who said that 40 people were in special suits and masks went to the scene. The factory employees were asked to be silent, and some were paid $ 200 to clean up the dangerous area for fear of losing their jobs, people complied.
The incident was confirmed by Chisinau government officials.
"We confirm that such an incident took place in March, and the intervention services of the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations were not requested, although at the level of the dialogue between Chisinau and Tiraspol there is a working group on issues related to the situation. During the communication with Tiraspol, an internal investigation is being carried out on the spot to clarify the causes of the situation," it is shown in a press release of the Chisinau Office.
On November 17, 2021, the European Commission adopted the European Green Pact, which stopped the export of waste, including waste and scrap metal from the EU, only on the condition that the entities receiving the waste become subject to an independent audit to demonstrate that they manage waste in a sustainable manner, which does not harm the environment.
For these reasons, the EU export to "MMZ" SAtd was stopped, but the factory in the previous year imported from the EU about 70% of the quantity needed for production. From Romania - EU state, 42 thousand tons were imported in September, and in October - 44 thousand tons of scrap metal,. These quantities currently allow it to operate illegally and continue to have a negative effect on the environment.
It should be noted that “MMZ” SAtd does not yet have an environmental permit from the Moldovan environmental authority, which would demonstrate that it does not have a negative impact on the environment in the process of storage and processing of used metal by and in this case. The investigation was opened to understand why the plant in Ribnita has so far operated without an environmental permit.
In an interview, the Minister of Environment of the Republic of Moldova, Iuliana Cantaragiu, added that: "From an environmental point of view, it is worried that the plant, although it generates pollution, which affects people, both on the left bank and on the right bank of the Dniester, is not authorized. And in this context, I asked the economic entity that is interested in the import of ferrous and non-ferrous metal to be authorized by the environmental authority of the Republic of Moldova, which is the Environmental Agency....”
As far as is known, no company located in the Transnistrian region allows access by representatives of the Moldovan state to carry out any kind of checks.