Published On: Mon, Sep 14th, 2015

Protesters: “Isla, I want to live normal again!”

protest marchWILLEMSTAD – According to a report from the Dutch reporter, Dick Drayer over 250 residents who live under the shadow of the oil refinery and supporters took the streets last Saturday to demonstrate against the pollution of the of the oil refinery Isla.

Dressed in white and with face masks the demonstrators marched from the district Wishi / Marchena, where pollution is worst, to the entrance of the refinery at station 5. They are demanding clean air.

The residents face serious health problems. From asthma to respiratory illnesses, from skin irritations to watery eyes. "It's so bad that you just do not know where to go, in your own home," said one resident of Wishi. Another resident wonders why it is that in his street seven to eight people have died at a relatively young age from cancer and cardiovascular disease.

At station 5, the reaction from the oil refinery management failed to materialize, only security stood at the gate. At the protest march in 2011 it was different, there was a group of oil refinery employees stood at the gate waiting for the protesters. The political attention was also minimal, only PAR members Armin Konket and Eduard Braam came to participate in the march.

Measurements of the Health Department Amsterdam show that the residents are not complaining for nothing. The figures are alarming. The already wide environmental standards were significantly exceeded.
An average of up to 80 micrograms of sulfur dioxide per cubic meter is allowed in the air. At the measuring station of Kas Chikitu, in the district Wishi / Marchena was measured an average of 122 last year. All refineries in the Rotterdam in the Netherlands emitted 14 micrograms / m3 from last year.

“So it is possible, a cleaner production,” said organizer Caroline Castendijk. She was the one who called on the people to protest against the refinery. Even environmental groups argue that cleaner production is possible, but there is no will at the refinery to invest in clean air. Residents now beg the government to finally do something. "That is my hope,” said an elderly woman during the march. “I hope there will come a time that I can have a normal life.”

Photo credit: Han Veltink

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