This month, the chairman of the Danish Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania, Mr. Jan Hyttel together with the Ambassador of Denmark to Lithuania, Mr. Hans Brask, went on a trip to visit Danish-owned furniture company Jakobsen Home, located in Alytus, to hear about their production, their company values as well as the challenges they have been facing lately.
Last year, Jakobsen Home was celebrating 20 years anniversary, however the happiness was overshadowed by an ecological disaster in their neighborhood. Even though the company have approached Alytus Municipality long time ago to talk about the danger and risk coming from their neighbor Ekologistika, nobody took it seriously.
During the Ekologistika fire, such attitude has caused not only the direct financial losses of more than EUR 80 000 after a 20% compensation from Government to the company, but UAB “Jakobsen Home Co” had to terminate the production for 11 days, also having losses of reputation among its international and EU partners, which the company have been building for years.
However, there is more. The local businessman, acting under the company UAB “MS LT01”, is planning to start the chemical plant 10 meters from Danish capital company Jakobsen Home in Alytus, near the site of Ekologistika.
The main concern of Jakobsen Home is, that the planned activities in the technological process is experimental and that the minerals and chemicals, that will be used in the planned production, raises great potential dangers to the environment and the public. They see much bigger risks compared to the Ekologistika disaster as such chemicals could potentially explode, risking the health of their own employees and those of the neighboring companies.
The company behind the chemical plant is not required to have liability insurance, and they potentially can use an old, unmaintained building.
If Alytus municipality or the Environmental Protection Department under the Ministry of Environment will not assure an independent international evaluation of the risks of this chemical plant, then all neighboring companies cannot be sure that their employees are safe and thus will have to move. Moving out of the building which last years was officially evaluated at 4,2 million euros would only show that Alytus Municipality and Lithuania is simply not protecting their foreign investors. There are more companies who are really concerned what will happen if the chemical plant will be allowed to operate without thorough safety and security measures. If Alytus and Lithuania in general wants to keep their current investors and not lose the potential ones, they should really start doing something in order to protect it.