Damage looms ahead in Hungary

Who would want to have an open case gravel pit, a surface mine in his or her neighbourhood? Residents of Pilismarót (Hungary), a picturesque little village at the River Danube, in the Danube Bend are certainly those who do not wish to live next to such a facility.

And who would want to open such a mine in an area where scenic beauty is abundant? There certainly is a company that plans to profit from such an activity, planning to excavate half a million tons of gravel annually, for the next 24 years.

If the gravel is needed for the construction of new football stadiums for the oh-so glorious Hungarian football championship or will go into the foundations of the new blocks of the Paks II Nuclear Power Plant to be constructed by Rosatom and the Russians, is just a secondary question to what environmental damage the whole operation will cause to the arable lands, the landscape, the protected species of the region or the Danube (which is a Natura 2000 site) as such.

Yesterday a court judgment brought this terrible scenario one step closer when the judicial council of Justice Jarfas at the Győr Tribunal declared the decision of the Ministry of Energy – originally withdrawing the EIA permit of the mine – unlawful.

There are still chances that the mine can be stopped, however, this requires a strong and resistant local village council – a village council that will be elected on the same day as the European Elections because Hungary will also vote for local representatives on the same occasion. Let us hope that those caring about our environment will be the majority.