2020.01.08 11:00

Company claims breakdown responsible for pollution in Curonian Lagoon

BNS 2020.01.08 11:00

A paper plant could have released polluted wastewater into the Curonian Lagoon due to a breakdown, according to the company's president.

"As far as I know, there was a breakdown and this is why it happened. It's a certain one-time breakdown, as far as I know," Gintautas Pangonis, president and major shareholder at Lithuanian paper and wood industry group Grigeo, told LNK Žinios (LNK News) on Tuesday.

Lithuanian prosecutors launched an investigation on Tuesday into environmental pollution by Grigeo Klaipėda, a company operating in the city's seaport. It is suspected of having been releasing untreated wastewater into the Curonian Lagoon, a bay in the Baltic Sea.

Read more: Klaipėda plant accused of polluting Lithuania's Curonian Lagoon

Grigeo Klaipėda informed environmental protection authorities on Wednesday that it stopped releasing untreated water into the Curonian Lagoon.

“We have received information from the company that the mandatory order had been executed. Tomorrow [on Thursday] we plan to check physically whether they really did it,” Vaidas Gricius, deputy director at the Environmental Protection Department, told BNS.

Prosecutors have said they suspect the company intentionally installed equipment for releasing untreated wastewater into the Curonian Lagoon.

Prosecutors say the damage done to nature could be valued at "tens of millions" of euros. Grigeo Klaipeda, Grigeo's subsidiary operating in Klaipeda, is suspected to have caused it.

The Nasdaq Vilnius Stock Exchange on Tuesday suspended trading in Grigeo shares.

Environment Minister Kęstutis Mažeika said previously that the company must immediately stop polluting and compensate the environmental damage.

“It’s a deplorable example of irresponsible business practices when instead of investing into environmental protection, [a company] cynically polluted nature,” the minister said in a comment to BNS.