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WWF: WWF analysis shows toxic contamination
in Yugoslavia is spreading

M2 Presswire, Coventry, Sep 15, 1999

M2 PRESSWIRE-15 September 1999-WWF: WWF analysis shows toxi contamination in Yugoslavia is spreading (C)1994-99 M2 COMMUNICATIONS LTD Gland, Switzerland -- After its expert te confirmed evidence of damage to the environment through chemica contamination, WWF, the conservation organization, today called for urgent clean up of toxic substances that continue to pollute the environment in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). Clearly the recent 78-day war there contributed to this.

At the same time, WWF published analytical results following rapid environmental assessment of two of the facilities bombed in Yugoslavia: the Pancevo petrochemical complex and the Novi Sad oil refinery.

It also tested the water of the Danube River. The mission revealed that toxic pollutants, originally released in the immediate environment of bombed facilities, are now threatening further damage by spreading into surrounding areas.

Samples taken from soil and water showed the presence o notable quantities of mercury, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, ethylene dichloride, and other highly toxic substances including dioxin. These were initially released by the bombing of industrial complexes and continue to leach from these facilities, threatening groundwater drinking supplies and natural resources in several countries of the area.

Atmospheric pollution was also considerable, with probabl impact on both public health and the environment.

"The international donor community has to provide financial an technical support, and equipment, for the urgent clean up and removal of contaminants in both the soil and the water," said Philip Weller, Director of WWF's Danube Carpathian Programme and leader o the expert team.

WWF's analysis also revealed that the war has exposed a enormous deficiency in the monitoring of toxic chemicals in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. "The pollution monitoring programme for the Danube has been particularly weak, despite the existence of international programmes supporting improved water quality in the river," added Mr Weller. This made it extremely difficult to separate damage caused by the war from previous or ongoing contamination. "However, it's clear that the immediat clean-up and stopping of the current pollution coming from the Pancevo petrochemical complex and the Novi Sad oil refinery are vital," he concluded.

In addition to these measures, WWF calls for the permanen upgrading of pollution monitoring in the Danube River by the parties to the Danube River Protection Convention, which include Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria.

CONTACT: Philip Weller, WWF's Danube Carpathian Programme Te +43 676 444 6601 Shaleen Russell, WWF International Tel: +41 22 36 95 71

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