SPECIAL REPORT/There are strong suspicions that around 40 thousand kg of radioactive wastes have entered Italy to Albania with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as final destination. We will have inputs from state officials, members of civil society and politicians
By Edison Kurani
In Albania, suspicions are mounting in relation to the arrival of a large quantity of radioactive wastes concealed as imported urban wastes.
This denouncement initially came from Italy, where an environmental organization said that 1300 containers, weighing 30 tons each, filled with radioactive wastes, have entered Italy from the port of Durres last year.
This suspicion was reinforced by publications in the Greek media. The hazardous wastes are suspected to have originated from this country. Then they are thought to have arrived in Durres to later be dispatched in other areas of the country.
The opposition is using this to reveal, as it declares, the true face of the government led by the socialist Prime Minister, Edi Rama.
Meanwhile, the government has not reacted.
However, the government’s head of communications has denied such traffic through a posting in social networks.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has mobilized the Albanian ambassador to Italy, Anila Bitri to demand explanations from the Italian portal.
Through a letter sent to the portal, Mrs. Bitri quotes the Albanian Attorney General, Adritatik Llalla to have declared that “there is no trace of illegal entry of wastes from Italy”.
Bitri says that the publication of this information has damaged the government’s and the PM’s image.
On the other hand, “Alliance Against the Import of Wastes”, has addressed to General Attorney Adriatik Llalla with an official request for information on the wastes that have entered in Albania in the past two years and the customs points that have been used.
Under these circumstances, Prosecution of Durres is verifying with the Department of Customs if urban wastes have arrived from Italy through the Port of Durres.
Prosecutor from Durres, Agron Gjana says that investigations are taking place to see if this is the case. A team of prosecutors has arrived at the Department of Customs to see the practice followed in the past two years.
IBNA learns that this investigation has been launched on the count of traffic of explosive, combustive, poisoning and radioactive materials.
According to the Criminal Code, the import, export, transit and sale of these materials in breach of the law, carries a jail sentence from seven to 15 years.
But if this criminal offense is repeated or if it has serious consequences, it carries a jail sentence from 10 to 20 years.
As part of this investigation, in the recent hours, the Department of Customs is also investigating another lead. According to this Department, last year, 1120 containers have entered the Port of Durres with FYROM as their destination, going through the Customs of Qafe Thana. Reportedly, the containers were mainly filled with food products.
Meanwhile, according to another lead, the containers filled with wastes had set out toward FYROM, but they never made it there. Durres, Fier, Vlora, Shkodra and Dibra are the cities where the containers filled with chemical wastes coming from Italy, are suspected to have been vanished.
The reintroduction of the law on wastes and civil reactions
The first decision taken by Rama’s government when it entered office in 2013 was the abrogation of the bill on the import of wastes. Two years later, it was Rama who reintroduced the bill. He said that there is no danger for penetration of chemical wastes along with imported wastes.
However, civil society was very active against this bill, which, nonetheless, was voted by the majority in parliament. But the president didn’t sign it, returning the bill to parliament for reevaluation. The bill has been suspended for several months now. Publicist Besjan Pasha, who is also a prominent activist on such issues, is surprised by the fact that PM Rama invested so much in bringing back this bill, despite the fact that the abrogation of the bill was an electoral promise in 2013.
According to him, “our wastes are more than enough for the recycling industry in the country, helping it to create new jobs”.
Stopping on the suspicions about the 1300 containers with radioactive wastes, which are believed to have entered Albania, Pesha says that this is an alarm for the generations to come.
“Tomorrow, these wastes will penetrate into subterranean waters, ending up in agricultural plots and the food on our plates”, Pesha explains with a simple language.
Meanwhile, prominent environmentalist, Sazan Guri says that the 2014 government’s decision to allow the transit of radioactive wastes top Albania is unacceptable.
“We have plenty of wastes in the country to recycle. Now that we’re hearing of imports, then there is something suspicious”.
Guri believes that the suspicions for radioactive wastes are credible. “The same thing also happened with chemical weapons, where the media was the first one to blow the whistle”, Mr. Guri says recalling the fact that a few months after Rama came in power, the country was swept by a wave of protests against the arrival into the country of a quantity of chemical weapons, upon the request of the United States.
The leader of the opposition, Lulzim Basha says that if the news about 1300 containers of dangerous wastes which have arrived in Albania is confirmed, this is genocide against Albanians.
“It seems that we’re facing a crime of unimaginable scale. These are 1300 containers which may have entered Albania illegally, against the Constitution, against the will of the Albanian people and which act as a threat to the health and safety of Albanians in those areas where they have arrived”.
Basha demands not only a prompt investigation by the Prosecution, but to make full transparency of every step of this investigation. “This is not an ordinary crime and an ordinary affair”.
For Mr. Basha, the penetration of radioactive wastes means that the international mob of wastes has penetrated. /balkaneu.com/