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Hungarian greens, Austrian authorities meet over foaming river

Representatives of Hungarian civil groups, Austrian authorities and local factories held a forum to discuss issues around the polluted Rába river in Szentgotthárd.

Though the amount of pollution - a chemical foam on the surface of the water coming from tanneries on the Austrian side - was significantly reduced as a result of Hungarian and Austrian efforts last year, “the problems are far from being resolved,” participants said at the forum.

This is the first conference ever attended by all affected parties, Zoltán Woki, head of the organizing Pro Natura St. Gotthárd told MTI.

Wilfried Schimon, who represented Austria's Environment Ministry, said that the authorities had “convinced the factories to reduce their chemical emissions” and spent some €9.5 million on environmental improvements along the river.

Dieter Knoppek said that his company's plant in Feldbach had ensured to remove a protein used in the tanning process from its sewage discharged into the Rába, which was believed to be responsible for the river's foaming.

Andreas Kindermann, head of the leather factory at Wolsdorf, said that the factory was now treating its sewage and it was no longer discharged directly into the river. He added that pollution from the plant was below the officially required maximum values. (MTI – Econews)