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Parliamentary committee head expects Slovak answer on Sajo river pollution

The head of parliament's sustainable development committee said on Thursday he expected Slovak authorities to state when they will order a stop to pollution of the River Sajo which flows from the neighbouring country into Hungary.

At an online press conference, Laszlo Lorant Keresztes, a lawmaker for green opposition LMP, summarised his talks on the matter with the head of Slovak parliament’s environmental and agricultural committee earlier in the day.

“Disputes over the scope of authority in the Slovak government are still hampering efforts to stop pollution on the Sajo, and it is still hard to know when pollution that has been going on for months will stop,” he said.

Keresztes said the pollution “has caused shocking destruction, wiping out living organisms along a 10-15km section of the river” in Slovakia, while arsenic content on the Hungarian section, he added, was above safe limits.

He said that although the amount of toxic water released from an abandoned mine into the river had dropped by 70-80 percent over the past two weeks, water flowing into the Sajo on the Slovak side still had a high content of hazardous materials. “Ecological balance can only be retained by fully eliminating the pollution,” the LMP politician said.

Keresztes criticised the Slovak government for failing over many months to take any measures to prevent the disaster. He also criticised the Hungarian government for failing to take sufficient diplomatic action.

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