President János Áder sent a letter to Klaus Iohannis, his Romanian counterpart, on Friday, calling on him to take steps over the latter country’s repeated pollution of Hungarian rivers.
In his letter, Áder noted that the Hungarian section of the river Szamos had recently been polluted by heavy metals from unused mines in northern Romania. Áder asked his counterpart to promote his country’s meeting obligations under bilateral and international environmental agreements.
Hungarian authorities were alerted to the pollution of the Szamos on Thursday. Áder said in his letter that concentrations of zinc, copper and cadmium were still “above acceptable levels”. It is not yet known what impact the current pollution will have on water quality and the flora and fauna of the river, Áder said, but he added that “what we are facing is the umpteenth occasion of water pollution from Romania.”
He noted that similar disasters had happened in 2000, 2013 and 2018, when toxic waste from unused mines in Romania had reached Hungarian riverways.
“I am convinced that we must resolve this dangerous situation without delay,” Áder said, adding that the ecosystems of Hungarian rivers have been “extremely fragile since the devastating cyanide spill of 2000”.
“Mutually agreed obligations” under international agreements offer legal ways “to take a firm stance against polluters” and to prevent further damage to the environment, Áder said in his letter.
Featured photo illustration by Tibor Illyés/MTI