Celtejo pulp mill polluter sues envirionmentalist for €250,000
Pulp mill operator, Celtejo, has demanded €250,000 in compensation from the environmentalist who pointed out the fact that the pollution levels in the waters of the Tejo, downriver from the industrial plant at Vila Velha de Rodão, were unaccaptable as millions of fish had been killed. (here)
The environmentalist, Arlindo Consolado Marquês, today said he was “very sad and very shaken” after Celtejo had instituted a defamation process, for associating the company’s name with pollution levels in Rio de Janeiro.
In the petition, filed in the Court of Santarém, Celtejo demands €250,000 from Arlindo Marquês for damages “against the good name of the company.”
Speaking today to Radio Portalegre, Arlindo Marquês, who is an active member of the proTejo movement, said he highlighted the “pollution of the Tagus as an act of citizenship.”
The prison guard turned environmentalist hit back at the company, accusing Celtejo’s management of “psychological terrorism” and of trying to silence him with its defamation case.
Despite feeling persecuted, Arlindo Marquês said he is not afraid and that he will continue to denounce pollution in the river Tagus, arguing that Celtejo should really be compensating those families who had their livelihood linked to the river Tejo which the compoany so readily pollutes.
According to proTEJO, the origin of the pollution that killed millions of fish in the Vila Velha de Rodão area is from three companies, Celtejo being the worst offender.
In November, Marquês said, “We all know that the culprit is the pulp mill, everyone already knows this,” referring to the emissions of effluents by Celtejo – Empresa de Celulose do Tejo, S.A., which produces Bleached Eucalyptus Kraft Pulp (BEKP) for paper production.
Portugal’s animals and nature party, PAN, already has filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Celtejo’s pollution in the Tejo after several councils complained that the situation was utterly appalling.
For PAN, the activity of Celtejo and other factories that are polluting the river, should be suspended as they are committing environmental crimes every time they flush.
PAN also has accused the Ministry of the Environment of “indifference” to the situation.” We are facing a serious environmental crime that is leading to the ruin of the Tagus River,” said André Silva.
Portugal’s Environment Minister managed to drag himself to the area and said that he saw no dead fish, so concluded that everything was perfectly legal.
The company is not suing the environmentalist for complaining about its pollution levels, which it may be able to get away with as it has a government-issued ‘polluter’s licence,’ but because Marquês compared the level of pollution to that in Rio do Janeiro.
The ‘polluter’s licence’ was granted by the Portuguese Environment Agency in a deal with Celtejo whereby the company undertook to build a waste water treatment plant to treat effluents produced by nearby industries and the local council – a ‘licence to pollute’ granted by the very agency that is supposed to be protecting the environment.
Should this bullying by Celtejo of an environmentalist ever come to court, the judge may well point out that Celtejo has no good name to defend and allow Marquês to continue to complain at every legitimate opportunity.
The above content produced by swissinfo.ch is not intended for commercial use and may not be republished by third parties either wholly or in part.