2020.01.28 14:30

Lithuania ups environmental controls: surprise inspections and closures of polluting businesses

BNS2020.01.28 14:30

The Seimas on Tuesday passed the so-called 'Klaipėda package' of environmental laws following the recent pollution scandals.

In January 2020, Grigeo plant in Klaipėda was caught releasing untreated wastewater into the Curonian Lagoon for years. Other pollution revelations across the country followed.

Read more: Lithuanian inspectors to check 50 companies' water treatment facilities in wake of pollution scandal

The new laws allow the authorities to revoke a company's pollution permit if it breaks the law three times a year or if at least one violation continues for more than half a year.

It also gives environmental officials the right to inspect businesses 24 hours a day without prior notice.

The package also increases penalties for operations without a pollution permit and raises environmental taxes to encourage investment in less polluting technologies.

Environmental issues have come into the spotlight in Lithuania in the wake of a major fire at a tire processing facility in the southern town of Alytus and the recent revelation that a paper factory in Klaipėda had been releasing untreated wastewater into the Curonian Lagoon for years, as well as other pollution incidents.

Read more: ‘Klaipėda package’ of new environmental protection rules aims to fix ‘rotten’ system

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