Tata Steel to be prosecuted for heavy metal-spreading graphite rains
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) is prosecuting steel manufacturer Tata Steel for heavy-metal containing graphite rains - dust explosions on its Hoogovens site that caused a great deal of unrest and problems in neighboring village Wijk aan Zee over the past years, the Volkskrant reports.
The OM is charging the IJmuiden company with violating its environmental permit, which states that the dust from its Hoogovens site cannot spread further than 2 meters. "The company failed to keep the source moist and clean to prevent the dust spreading," an OM spokesperson said to the newspaper.
Research in 2018 showed that the graphite rains from the company contained heavy metals and carcinogenic substances. Following this study, Tata Steel promised to build a hall over the area where the residual matter is processed. The hall was opened in May this year.
Over the summer, research by public health institute RIVM showed that the amount of carcinogenic substances in Wijk aan Zee increased enormously, by as much as four times within a year. The amount of lead found in the village this summer was also much higher than the year before.
The decision to prosecute the company was partly made because of the unrest caused by the graphite rains in the area. According to the OM, the environmental permit exists to keep the environment livable. "Subpoena seems appropriate because public accountability is important given the concerns of those around the company," the OM spokesperson said to the Volkskrant.
Tata Steel told the newspaper that it has not received a formal subpoena and can therefore not respond.