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NKÚ: Environmental damage removed slowly, ineffectively

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Prague, Nov 27 (CTK) – The removal of environmental damage caused by state companies before their privatisation is slow and inefficient in the Czech Republic, which brings additional costs to the state, according to the latest Supreme Audit Office (NKU) report released on Monday.

Only about half of the planned remediation projects launched in 1991 have been completed so far, the NKU check revealed. In one third of the cases the removal has not begun yet, although the decisions on the projects were made in 1994-98.

The Finance Ministry has to continually invest a lot of money in some contaminated locations even before the remediation begins in order to prevent the situation from worsening. The premises of the OKK Koksovny coke producer has been maintained in this way for 20 years and the ministry did not explain why the remediation has not started in this area yet, NKU writes.

In total, the Finance Ministry paid over 60 billion crowns for the removal of old environmental damage by the end of 2016.

The NKU estimated the cost of removals of further damage at tens of billions of crowns.

The NKU said the ministry paid 136 million crowns for machinery that proved to be unsuitable for the work it should have done in the oil lagoons left behind the Ostramo former chemical plant in Ostrava, northern Moravia.

The removal of the lagoons has lasted 20 years and the ministry has paid 2.8 billion crowns for it so far. However, the technology for the final stage of the cleaning of the lagoons has not been known during the NKU check.

Neither the end date the cleaning nor the total costs have been known, the NKU said about the Ostramo lagoons.

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