Reuters, 24 June: Amsterdam In a show of support for the local air and soil pollution, hundreds of environmental activists carrying flags and banners marched onto the Tata Steel factory grounds in the Dutch city of Ijmuiden on Saturday. They were wearing red jumpsuits.

Locals who claim that the Indian company’s plant in the seaside city is to blame for the excessive amounts of heavy metals in the area’s soils joined the campaigners, who were led by Greenpeace.

Tata stated that it recognised the right of protestors to demonstrate but advised them to leave the area for their own safety, adding that it was unable to close the plant during the demonstration.

A sign saying “Tata Steel, You Sicken Us” was hung by a group of demonstrators near the port where the plant imports coal and iron ore using boats.

Environmental officials are examining the site, and prosecutors are looking into allegations that Tata intentionally contaminated the groundwater in the area. Tata disputes this.

The coke factories must be shut down first, according to Greenpeace’s Faiza Oulahsen. “There, poisonous vapours are discharged practically daily… That must end, she emphasised.

If given funds, Tata, the Netherlands’ greatest producer of climate-warming carbon dioxide, aims to switch to creating “green” steel from hydrogen, a transition that may take two decades.

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