Mayor of Klaipėda Vytautas Grubliauskas / photo by Rita Stankevičiūtė (LŽ)
In the absence of breaks as a result of the pollution of living spaces of Klaipeda's seaport, which is likely to skip to the area, it is proposed to look at this problem in more detail. Portland mayor Vytautas Grubliauskas argued in an interview with LŽ that the handling of a stevedoring company with one port is incorrect because pollution sources are much more diverse.
He therefore proposes that the round table managers of all companies operating in the port should convene representatives of the government, ministries, supervisory bodies and find solutions to the conflict.
"Whatever happens behind the fences of the port, it can not cause any inconvenience to the people of Klaipėda, or even the threat to their health.This is how binding the axiom should be perceived equally by each port manager, the manager, as well as the port authority and the Ministry of Transport, "he said.
– Recently, Klaipėda has stirred up citizens and politicians as a result of pollution by port companies. Is this a problem that has just been stressed, is it a constant pain in the city?
– Absolutely, blaming a period or a company would be wrong. The city and the port have long been neighbors and that neighborhood is inevitable. We have no other choice, so we have to look for ways to live together.
Of course, the problems that are now loud are not today. On the other hand, it is necessary to realize that cargo handling in the port is constantly increasing. – Klaipeda State Seaport Authority always uses the opportunity to boast about it. That is why we are increasingly being confronted with the consequences of this development, but they are already going beyond the fence of the port.
It now seems as if we are trying to transfer all problems to one stevedoring company on the shoulders, which is not objective. Certainly, Klaipeda Stevedoring Company (KLASCO), being the largest in the port, can best be seen, its activities are most tangible. We also appreciate that this company is closest to the population. Let's not forget the unconventional weather this summer, dominated by the heat, the one-way wind.
The city dwellers now respond much louder, more active, more intimate. And this involves a certain accumulation of problems. There are many factors.
I can boldly say that these sources of pollution, when we talk about the concentration of particulate matter in the air, are virtually in the port city.
– Is the port authority only responsible for pollution? Are there other sources that pollute Klaipeda, for example when heavy traffic moves through the streets of the city?
– I would not like to be an expert and judge what the biggest polluter in the city is. They are not alone. It is also the return ships that pollute the air from the chimneys, railways and streets, and the company that operates in the port or in the vicinity of the city. None of these sources of pollution can be eliminated.
Let's go back to the adventures of the port in the north of the city – that dust, the soot has its own source, and it has not yet been identified. When environmentalists discover the particles found in the homes of the residents, they will discover where they come from. Perhaps it coincides with the materials in the vicinity of the KLASCO treatment site.
On the other hand, let me see at least one such port company that has recently invested so much in trying to control the negative effects of the treatment.
I would like to ask the authorities who have ever issued permits and have indicated where and how much pollution can be: where are their responsibilities? And now those who try to control the negative consequences try their best.
I think everyone agrees that the city is not in the port and the port is in the city. In this case it is necessary to search together for the right solutions, ways to manage the situation. Only then will it be possible to talk about quality cooperation. There are such examples in the world. Klaipėda could be such a good example.
Akiratyje – the whole port
– In the south of the city complain about nocturnal noise that gives off dust. An analogous situation in the northern part. Perhaps the inconvenience that city dwellers are experiencing with regard to the operation of the port complex?
– No doubt possible. Therefore, everyone must realize that only complex solutions can yield positive results. The port activity extends from the sea gate to Pig's back, except for a short stroke at the mouth of the Canyon. The current situation has healed problems that are not related to one company. They also load materials open, uncovered and this dust. We know that some companies have sent both carbon-carbon and other materials on some days that have also drowned. As a result, people complained.
Not only pollution causes discomfort for city dwellers, but also many other things. The inhabitants of the southern part of Klaipeda suffered from the noisy handling of metal at night – they could not sleep, sleep well. Or a fishing rod after closing time, very early in the morning. We get complaints from many places. The production activity takes place in the entire port area.
Port companies must take their responsibility. Urban residents react and react to these consequences in the future. It is much easier to prevent preventative processes, to prevent potential conflicts, than to seek and punish later.
Nor will we cover the harbor with a valve, nor will the city leave elsewhere. We must look for ways to live together, so that the city feels the least negative impact of the activities of the port.
– The more active plunder of the Klaipeda cities is related to the upcoming municipal elections. Do you have these comments?
– Elections are such & # 39; s period of social life when you try to use every circumstance for certain political purposes. Even if there was no noise at all due to the activities of port companies, some politicians would have invented problems to achieve their political goals.
It is regrettable that when we try to politicize certain actions, real problems and their solutions are moved to a second plan. These alleged hunters are not short, they try to take advantage of the situation and gather political assets for every occasion. I miss the developers who really help solve the problems.
– The relationship between the port and the city has always been somewhat tense. It seems that the tensions have not diminished in recent decades. What is the way out?
– There is not only one example of coexistence between the city and the port of coexistence. I would call Gdansk, Riga, Rotterdam. Problems are comparable there. If the gate is in the same area as the city, residential areas, some friction has been programmed. Of course, a lot depends on which materials are loaded there. But elsewhere the city can not only manage the consequences of the operation of a port, but also influence the port. Our case is different. When the city has the right not only to hammer on something when it is heard in strategic matters, the situation will change.
– What impact can the municipality have on port activities? Is there a lever for compromise, so that there is less conflict?
– The general plans of the Klaipeda seaport and the town of Klaipeda are being prepared. The port's plan was from the beginning the rule of law, it is a document of greater power than the general plan of the city. The city will have to comply with the decisions of the port facility.
So what about equality in Lithuania can we speak? We will have to accept what Vilnius has advised and our vote will only be needed by combining documents. This is the best illustration where the results will come to the port and the consequences for the city. When I was still working in the Sejm, I talked about the need to change this situation substantially.
On the other hand, those who see the port as an enemy may not call themselves a friend of the city Klaipeda. Neither the port would exist without the city of Klaipeda, nor the city without a port. However, managing a conflict situation is possible. You must not only be guilty.
I am very reticent about initiatives such as trying to litigate, to ban a company in the port. The radical path is wrong. City dwellers naturally have to talk sharply and clearly about their problems. But a civilized attitude towards each other is also necessary. Do not just look at the port as an enemy of the city. Both parties have a reserve for business relationships.
– Do you think that the current legislation on the basis of which authorizations for the handling of cargoes are issued or not issued must be modified and improved?
– Problems arise when managing authorities try to deal with the consequences. The reaction of Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelas, when he only invited representatives from one company, struck me with a fool's stomach, slammed my fist and ordered me to cope. Otherwise it had to be done. It was necessary to invite all port stevedoring companies, the Port Authority, the Ministry of Transport, the Environment, the heads of health ministries, representatives of the local government and to talk about complex problems. Because they are not part, but in the whole port. Then I would rather see the desire to solve the problem rather than the attempt to blame one company. It is more like taking a demonstration action.
Perhaps after the first meeting some people silently fell into their fists, although they themselves did not cause less damage to the city, but were not mentioned as loud.
Of course it is good that the prime minister drew attention to the pollution factor of the port. This means that Vilnius has also heard. And this meeting is not the last. Perhaps after the first, some people stopped in their fists, although they themselves did not cause less damage to the city, but were not mentioned as loud. The process is not finite.
The work of the control authorities reminds me of the fight against windmills. It catches pollution, and the answer is whether it exceeds the standard or not, but within a few months. When everything has been forgotten. Efficiency is not high.
– Do you think it would be advisable to build an external port in Montréal, and what threat do you see when this large project was carried out?
– Assessing the current concerns about dealing with the city itself, and moving it to an external port seems to help solve certain problems. But the stick has two ends. The question of how the construction of this outer harbor will hit the coastal coast? What will be the invasion of the urban infrastructure? After all, Melnrage is also the home of people.
There were plans to consider the construction of an external port in Būtingė, but the government did not listen to Klaipėda's opinion, but opted for the Melnragė option. It still has to come to terms.
However, I am not afraid of this external port. For me, the most important thing is to manage all the consequences and to write down those control scenarios in advance. In order not to have similar conflicts, what happened now. Lithuania needs such a port, but we still do not get many answers to sensitive questions.
– Klaipeda is not the only port in the world built on the territory of the city and adjacent to residential areas. Maybe you know how the problems were solved abroad?
– There are not one, but there are also some assumptions that mainly relate to the infrastructure. The governments of the countries show a different attention than in Lithuania to the ports and cities in which they find themselves. And for years we can not solve the problems of the southern ring road around Klaipėda, the reconstruction of the Baltic avenue and other transport corridors. And then we look at why there is so much noise in the dust? If all of this had been resolved and the state as the owner of the port was more focused, the situation would be different. But everything happens slowly.