GB No. 2, summer 1990


It seems that the problem of the Gliwice coking plant has been brought to a close. Let me remind you that it is one of the several dozen environmentally destructive plants working on a technology which dates back to the thirties is devoid of basic safety equipment. Already a few years ago the Gliwice City Council made attempts to liquidate the plant. It was promised that the coking plant would be closed down after coke factories in Zdzieszowice and within the Katowice steelworks had been established. Despite the fact, however, that the coking factories were set up, the Gliwice plant still continued to pollute the environment as the new plant worked to fulfil export demands.

At the beginning of 1989 the Polish Ecological Club started to fight for the closing down of the plant. The ministry replied with a plan for modernizing the old plant. The modernization would mean a complete replacement of its four banks of coke ovens and the process would last for about 10 years. That concept obviously did not satisfy anybody. In the spring of 1989 the "Freedom and Peace" movement joined in the campaign to close the plant. They organized a street demonstration and in December, in the city centre, collected signatures on a petition proposing to close the plant. Also in December an M.P. for Gliwice (a member of the OKP - Citizens' Parliamentary Club) Mr Steinhof introduced his question to the Seym (the Lower House of the Parliament).

Under this pressure, Minister Syryjczyk decided to close down two banks of coke ovens by the end of this year and the other two by the middle of next year. It means that in a little more than a year Gliwice's biggest polluter will cease to exist.

The OKP city council candidates who are members of the Polish Ecological Club hope to increase the rights of the local self-governments, which would make it possible to liquidate the coking plant by the end of this year. Moreover, they have some other proposals, e.g. to introduce very high fines for polluting the environment and to construct a bypass around the city.

It is worth remarking that the problem of the Gliwice coking plant is a rare example of fruitful cooperation between the Ecological Club, the "Freedom and Peace" Movement and the Citizens' Committee. What is more, even minister (of industry) Syryjczyk has not made violent objections.

Robert Dwornik

GB No. 2, summer 1990 | Contents