Price of war

Published: Wednesday 30 June 1999

greenpeace said nato 's (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) bombing of Yugoslavia is not only causing widespread pollution in the Balkans but risking a major nuclear accident. "We are concerned about the missiles that keep striking Bulgaria, with some even reaching Sofia," Stelios Psomas, director of Greenpeace Greece, said in a news conference. He said the bombs were dropping perilously close to Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear plant, risking an accident that would affect the whole continent.

"If there is one effect of the war that concerns all of Europe, it is the accidental bombing of Kozloduy," Psomas said. Weeks of nato air raids against Yugoslavia have destroyed petrochemical plants, releasing thousands of tonnes of toxic chemicals, he said. Fires raging unchecked all over Kosovo also added to the problem. The raids not only resulted in polluting the air with dangerous dioxins, a result of burning organic with chlorinate material, but also caused oil spills in the Danube river. "Kozloduy uses massive amounts of water from this river for its cooling process and oil could block it," Psomas said. "If alternative means fail, it would mean a meltdown." The Danube delta's ecosystem is also at risk from the pollutants flowing down, although the damage may not be immediately obvious.

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