Last weekend we joined @greenpeacenl and @extinctionrebellionnl in a peaceful protest at Tata Steel. They set up a camp on Friday to get everyone ready to march onto Tata’s premises for the mass #PeoplevsPolluters action on Saturday. In the end, we decided not to join the mass action but to make ourselves useful by joining the clean-up crew and support demo instead. With @hang.youth showing up to blast their ultra-short punk projectiles to the mass action, the day couldn’t get any better.
So why did we protest at Tata Steel?
Tata Steel’s blast furnace complex in the Netherlands is the country’s top emitter of CO₂ and nitrogen. Outdated installations at the complex fail to meet standards, leading to the release of harmful heavy metals and carcinogens. According to the European Environmental Agency (EEA), Tata Steel in IJmuiden is the fifth most polluting steel factory on the European continent. And of all 150 European steel factories, Tata is located in the most densely populated area.
Tata Steel doesn’t only emit an astonishing 8% of all the greenhouse gases in The Netherlands; they are also the biggest emitter of fluoranthene, chrome, mercury, lead and several PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons). Tata’s heavy metals and (@WHO -proven) carcinogens rain down on the houses, parks, and playgrounds of hundreds of thousands of people. In these areas, the chance of developing lung cancer is up to 51% higher than on average, and children have a greater chance of brain damage due to lead poisoning.
But it’s not only the air they pollute. Every year, Tata releases nearly 180 billion litres of wastewater into surface waters that contain high amounts of highly hazardous toxins such as arsenic, chromium, mercury, zinc, lead, nickel, and cyanide.
The industry keeps setting the minimum limits, and the government continues facilitating. Meanwhile, people get sick, and nature is poisoned. The detrimental impact of Tata’s pollution is intolerable, and it is high time to take action by closing down the two coke factories.