During its session on Tuesday, the Government of North Macedonia approved the plan for cleaning up the smaller depot with lindane in the OHIS plant’s yard. Five decades since thousands of tons of lindane (carcinogenic insecticide) were buried in the yard of this former chemical giant in the times of former Yugoslavia, its cleanup should finally start.
Even though the Ministry of Environment previously announced that the cleanup will commence toward the end of March, the procedure for a formal start of the works to solve country’s top environmental problem is not finished yet.
Since the Greek company Polyeco, which was selected at an international tender with the help of UNIDO, submitted the plan for clearing the Small lindane depot, the Government ordered the Ministry to produce Decision for approval of the plan.
“This decision by the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning arrives after UNIDO i.e. the UN’s Agency for Industrial Development informed the ministry that the plan submitted by the Greek company specialized for this type of activities “Polyeco” was approved for the implementation of the decontamination procedure on the AD OHIS-Skopje’s soil” informed the Government.
Over 13 000 tons of the dangerous lindane had been located in the Smaller depot in OHIS plant’s yard and during the first 6 to 9 months a part of the landfill or around 700 tons of soil contaminated with lindane will have to be removed. In total, it is estimated that both in the smaller and the bigger depotsl in OHIS’ yard there are over 50 000 tons of lindane mixed with soil.
But the quantities of this carcinogenic chemical buried in the other two depots is still unknown. One depot is located in the former pant’s yard and the other is located outside, at Pelenica near Drachevo.
This chemical is improperly stockpiled, only covered with soil, without any guarantees that it is enclosed in a concrete pool, and it has been proven that the lindane is present in the air in Skopje’s center up to Gjorche Petrov area and it can be found in the soil and the underground waters in a wider area around OHIS. The OHIS lindane represents a top environmental problem in this country that had been ignored for decades.