Environment of Europe at Risk from NATO Bombing

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia, April 7, 1999 (ENS) - A leader of the Yugoslavian New Green Party says NATO bombing of Yugoslavia is endangering the entire environment of Europe.

Branka Jovanovic, president of Council of the New Green Party says that not only are military targets being hit but the water supply for much of Eastern Europe is being contaminated. "I warn you that Serbia is one of the greatest sources of underground waters in Europe and that the contamination will be felt in the whole surrounding area all the way to the Black Sea, she says in an email from Belgrade.

Jovanovic is an anti-nuclear activist and a co-establisher of the Greens branch in Nurnberg. She is a member of INES (Italian Network for peace, human rights, Ecological awareness and cooperation for Sustainable development) and president of the Committee of Independent Students Assocation in Belgrade. She is honorary president of the Ecological Party in Tirana, Albania, and a member of the Movement for Peace of the Muslims and Serbs. She is co-organizer of the first Caravan of Peace of the Greens in Kosovo and participated in the German-Serbian-Muslim-Croat Dialogue in Munich. Finally, Jovanovic says she is "a mother of a child born in a mixed marriage."

On the first day of the NATO air strikes, March 24, the municipality of Grocka was hit where the Vinca nuclear reactor is situated, containing a great stockpile of nuclear waste, Jovanovic reports.

The municipality of Pancevo has been hit, in which the petrochemical factory and a factory for the artificial fertilizers are situated.

The municipality of Baric has also been hit with a large complex for the production of chloride, which is using Bopal technology.


NATO map showing targets hit in Yugoslavia during the period March 24 to March 31 (Map courtesy NATO photos)
"It is not necessary for me to explain what the blowing up of one of such factories would represent," she writes. "Not only Belgrade, which is situated at a 10 kilometre (six mile) distance, would be endangered, but the rest of Europe too."

On the second day in the Belgrade suburb of Sremcica, a factory for the chemical production and a rocket fuel storage area were hit causing a releases into the surrounding area, Jovanovic reports.

"I am pointing out that four national parks were hit - all members of the International association of the national reservations - you have to realise that FR Yugoslavia is among 13 of the world's richest bio-diversity countries," she writes.

Especially worrying to Jovanovic is a recent news report heard in Belgrade that, "in the next phases of their bombing, NATO will use the airplanes B1 and A10 which are carrying missiles with depleted uranium previously used in Iraq and Bosnia Herzegovina. The use of these will bring about the vast dangerous consequences to the health not only of the soldiers, but also of the whole population, and you know that the toxins and the radioactivity know no nationality or borders."

At a media briefing in Brussels, Belgium Tuesday, UK Air Commodore David Wilby of NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe described the types of targets NATO forces are aiming at.

"We started off with the integrated air defence system, we have continually hit communications associated with those sort of facilities, we have attacked headquarters associated with troops in the field or police in the field, we've taken out logistic supplies, particularly ammunition and petroleum, and now we are looking and taking down bridges, and those bridges are bridges which have been carefully selected because they are major lines of communication and those affect the resupply of those troops who remember are on the ground conducting the ethnic cleansing and deportation activities. So, very firmly, I would say to you that all our targets have been very justifiably military targets," Wilby said.