The leftist opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) is turning to the European environment commissioner over the recent leakage of polluting gases near the site of Hungary’s northern Mátrai coal-fired power plant, party spokesman Balázs Barkóczi told a news conference. Barkóczi said details of the “environmental scandal” were being kept secret, arguing that the competent authorities had informed neither the public nor the mayors of the cities and towns affected by the contamination. The plant’s operations have not even been suspended, he added.
Barkóczi insisted that since there was “a strong suspicion” that the contamination at the plant was linked to a nearby factory belonging to Lőrinc Mészáros, a businessman linked to the Hungarian prime minister, the authorities were unlikely to conduct a proper investigation in the matter. “And if the state bodies can’t be trusted, Hungarians can only rely on Europe,” the spokesman said, adding that DK MEP Sándor Rónai will turn to the European commissioner for the environment over the issue, seeking an investigation.
Last Tuesday, the Heves County disaster management authority said sulphurous and phosphorus gases had formed at the power plant’s Visonta premises, emphasising that the gases were not harmful to humans. The authority said it had taken all the necessary precautionary measures and notified the authorities. On Friday, Mátrai Erőmű, the plant’s operator, said it had begun to manage the situation and that the disaster management authority was monitoring pollution levels in the area.