2020.02.24 14:00

After pollution scandals, Lithuanian president calls for tougher controls

After a string of pollution scandals, the Lithuanian president called for a new environmental control system that would fix "the crimes" that went on for decades.

The Environmental Protection Department has come under fire in the wake of recent environmental scandals. In January, Grigėo Klaipėda cardboard factory was cought allegedly releasing untreated wastewater into the Baltic waters for years.

Read more: Grigeo product sales at Lithuanian shops fall in wake of pollution scandal

The violation was exposed by law enforcement officials after years of complaints by the local residents. The killing of a bison, a protected species in Lithuania, during a hunting event attended by influential politicians and businesses people has also caused public outrage.

"We'll have to build a completely new system," Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said in an inteview with LNK and Info TV last week.

"Some crimes [...] went on for decade and we lived in a kingdom of crooked mirrors where things looked pretty good from the outside, despite people complaining of foul odors," he said, adding that publicity "is the first step toward dealing with environmental problems".

In the wake of the scandals, Environment Minister Kęstutis Mažeika proposed demoting Vaidas Laukys, the head of Environmental Protection Department.

Read more: Lithuania’s state-owned port allegedly polluting Baltic waters