Tata Steel at IJmuiden came under fire for years. The steel plant today announced an acceleration of environmental measures to reduce odors, dust and nuisance noise. But the turmoil surrounding the company is not diminishing. You may also have to deal with multiple criminal cases and pay periodic fines.
“We have to do,” says director Hans van den Berg, “but we also want to take these measures. Because we all live in this region ourselves.” News Hour. The company announces that it will spend 300 million euros on environmental measures. The plans aren’t new, but the company says it is now taking action more quickly.
Dirk Weidema, president of Milieuplatform IJmuiden, does not expect Tata Steel to adhere to stated measures. “Whatever Tata does, they do it reactively. They are just passing through the corner under a lot of pressure. I have no confidence that this 300 million euros will be fine.”
With “heavy pressure”, Weidema refers in this case, among other things, to the complaint against Tata Steel last week, to more than a thousand people. They say that Tata Steel continues “intentionally and knowingly to emit highly hazardous and carcinogenic substances”.
Last month, RIVM published a study on the air quality around the plant. And it found that locals suffer more often from severe health complaints than anywhere else in the Netherlands. This includes headache and nausea, as well as heart disease, diabetes, and lung cancer. The Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Institute also discovered after research that people in the region develop lung cancer more often.
To reduce the inconvenience, Tata Steel will, among other things, install screens and cover bunkers, so that less dust spreads. The company itself will measure whether the measures have an impact. The latter goes the wrong way with Linda Valentine of Wijk aan Zee Village Council. “We are from the toilet duck. Actions are for the stage.”
“I’ve completely lost confidence in the company. But also confidence in the government, if they don’t act strictly and clearly and advocate for the health of the local population,” Valent says.
How will Tata Steel regain the confidence of the locals? “By actually carrying out these actions,” says director Hans van den Berg. “We will seek more outreach with the residents. We will look more at how people in the village experience that.”
In addition to declaring 1,100 locals, there are other cases. The Public Prosecution Office wants to sue Tata Steel for violating the environmental permit. The steelmaker had not done his best to prevent the spread of dust. And it doesn’t stop there: OM has a total of four cases against Tata Steel, according to a company spokesperson News Hour.
The Environment Department also imposed 11 other “penalties” on Tata Steel. These include nitrogen oxides, so-called “raw coke” and nuisance dust, as well as fire safety in office buildings.