GB No. 2, summer 1990

The white man does not seem to notive the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench.

Chief Seattle's Message - 1854


Six basic questions should be answered:

  1. What is emitted by the Sądecki Carbon Electrodes Factory (SCEF)?
  2. How many harmful compounds in the atmosphere and soil are produced by this factory?
  3. Are these quantities harmful?
  4. How do these harmful substances effect human health?
  5. Should we agree with the opinion that this factory is an advantage to the Sądecki region, or that the Sądecki region is merely a background for the factory?
  6. If we can't agree with the current situation, what should be done to change it?

The following text is an attempt to answer these questions. The SCEF in Nowy Sącz emits dust, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons and benzo-\B a-pyrene.

Let's concentrate on hydrocarbons and benzo-a-pyrene because of their toxicity.

The percentages of emissions from these substances - measured in the concentration of toxic fumes - in the center of Nowy Sącz are the following: hydrocarbons - 54,9%, benzo-a-pyrene - 17,1%, dust - 36,9%. This is the data announced by the SCEF, so it should be regarded as only approximate. Studies on the behavior of particles of chemical substances in the air have shown that hydrocarbons are carried together with particles of solid substances, for example, with dust. The conditions for transfer of SCEF-emitted hydrocarbons are favorable. Hydrocarbons have carcinogenic properties.

Mr. Graff and Mr. Bielka studied the mechanisms of hydrocarbon-influ- enced carcinogens, and it was found that:

It is impossible to determine a general carcinogen - tolerance dose. This means that everybody has a different tolerance level, and living by the factory, we can be sure that for most of us, this level will be reached, regardless of the degree of modernization that the factory undergoes. Considering the ten to twenty year latency period of cancer, we can take it for granted that some of us will be the victims of this factory - at least 70%.

Besides the carcinogenic influence, we are also familiar with the negative effects of hydrocarbons on the blood system. They cause immunodeficiency, increasing the possibility of illness. As for aliphatic hydrocarbons, we know less about them, and for only a few have the permissible levels of contamination been established. Western countries probably have the most extensive knowledge about them, and therefore, a chemical lobby is absolutely vital. The SCEF produces large quantities of toxic substances, about which little to nothing is known. We presume that these substances are harmful for people.

Who is allowed to feed us with such poisons? All consumable goods must be allowed for consumption by a special commission. Why is the air - which. in contrast to those goods, is something we have no choice but to take into our bodies - poisoned without penalty? Why is it up to the consumers to prove the toxicity of the air?

Apart from this most dangerous effect of the SCEF, there are also others. Soil contamination and the destruction of forests are the most pressing. The forest of the Źeleźniko- wa region has been diagnosed for the third degree of contamination. The forest of Stary Sącz region has not been examined in this way.

Coming to the fifth point, whether the SCEF is an advantage or a disadvantage - if the factory has been added to the Sądecki region for wrong political reasons, then it must be made clear that it is a useless and superfluous addition.

The last question - what should be done to change this situation? I think that current type of production and emissions are reason enough to rule out the continued presence of this factory in our region. It must remain, to the greatest extent possible, a "green region." And that which in the Silesian slang of Raciborz is called the "Black Shed" can no longer be allowed. Modification of production does need time. But of course, the factory may try to stall for more time while people remain under the toxic influence of its emissions. If the energies and the abilities of engineers from the SCEF are not focused on the conversion of means of production and the working-out of new, clean, and necessary technologies, which will be used for successful ventures and don't have to be "proven" safe, then they will be lost energies, abilities. And those social movements which are now forming will sooner or later, by whatever means necessary, bring things to their proper state.

Marek Styczyński
Piastowska 5, Nowy Sącz
tel.0-18/22816, 60900

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit opon the ground, they spit upon themselves. The earth does not belong to mans; man belongs to earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.

Chief Seattles Message - 1854

GB No. 2, summer 1990 | Contents