Rīga freeport official: coal dust issue has been solved

The ten-year-long story of moving coal-handling terminals at Rīga port away from residential areas is coming to an end. A few weeks ago, the first coal cargo was loaded at the new Krievu sala (Russian island) terminal, Ansis Zeltiņš, the manager of the Rīga Freeport, told Latvian Radio in an interview March 11.

For years, residents of parts of Rīga near the port have complained of the unsightly and unhealthy effects of dust. The exact source of this hazard has remained a bone of contention, but it is hoped the situation could soon improve

The Krievu sala terminal was put into operation at the end of last year, but coal handling in the center has continued. Why?

It is not just a case of turning off the light in one place and turning it on in another. There is also a need for some transition period. The Krievu sala terminal project was completed at the end of last year and works were started to move all coal stacking activities from the right bank of the Export Port area to the new terminals on Krievu sala.

It is a fairly significant process, both technologically in terms of train movements, because a completely new railway station has been built on Krievu sala.

But are the companies involved completely and definitely relocated to Krievu sala? The original deadline was the end of 2016?

Yes, it is clear that the project is lingering, yes, it is a fact - if not by ten, then by about eight years. But in any case, the fact that construction has been completed, while some people did not believe it [would happen] shows we certainly did the job. And the most important objective of the project was the environmental aspect.

And at least there is this - that people who have been exposed to coal dust on the right bank of Skanstes Street and the entire surrounding area will no longer have this dust to deal with.

Then this summer we will not see any more stories about people complaining their window sills are black?

I cannot guarantee that the dust will disappear entirely, because clearly, coal from the port is not the only source of dust in the city, whether we like it or not. But it is clear that in the Export Port area and beyond, in the direction of Skanstes Street, coal dust will no longer exist.

And if there is [such dust], it will not come from the port.

It will have nothing to do with us.

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