Thursday, August 24, 2006

Russia Choking Finland - III

Finland's main Swedish-language daily newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet has published a selection of readers' letters about the serious health problems caused by the smoke that has blown into Finland from the forest fires that have burned just over the border in Russia during past weeks. Some excerpts (my tr.):
- As the country with the EU’s presidency, Finland ought to have been much sharper in its choice of words and should also have taken up the question with other EU countries. Russia has no right to wreck the environment of a neighbouring country, especially when that country is ready to help with the problem.

- Polluting the air of a neighbouring country is a gigantic environmental crime. Finland’s government ought to complain and take the matter to the international court in the Hague. The government should act much more forcefully in the case.

- What do the deadly smoke particles contain? I suffer badly from asthma and allergies. Who is going to pay these extra costs? The Russian Duma or the Finnish parliament?

- I got lung cancer five years ago, and am now starting to get really tired of all this. Our cowardly authorities are seeing to it that the whole of the population of Southern Finland will fall ill. Our politicians, especially the social democrats, are so scared of Putin’s cannons that they don’t dare to do anything.

- The Russians have definitely not done enough. They haven’t even accepted help from Finland. So Finland should send Russia a stiff bill for all the extra doctor’s expenses, all the extra hospital visits and all the personal suffering the smoke has brought with it.

- The government has been asleep for a week. They ought to have reacted at once. And in Russia they ought to put out all the fires immediately. I think we ought to have helped them, even though they didn’t ask for help. Elderly people and asthma patients have found it hard to breathe.

- Our authorities haven’t done enough. When garbage tips and compost heaps burn, it's dangerous. We don’t know what’s burning in them. Our authorities have behaved very badly. I have never known anything like it.

See also: Russia Choking Finland
Russia Choking Finland - II
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