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Porto Romano /location + sketch map (2003)/

Porto Romano, a far suburb of Durres, second biggest Albanian City, sits on a former marsh inhabited by more than 3,000 people, most of whom came to this village from the poorer north of the country after the fall of communism in 1992. Some years ago, the neighborhood was declared  to be "a disaster area" by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

An elementary school is situated only 100 meters from the refuse of a chemical plant that once produced pesticides -- such as lindane, a nerve poison and carcinogen -- and sodium dichromate for leather tanning. Yellow stains from Chromium VI cover the valley, and doctors say those living nearby absorb the poisons through their skin...

By Alban Bala for Balkan Times in Tirana


...But thousands of Albanians fleeing extreme poverty in the north of the country are now squatting in makeshift homes in and near the plant, where soil and groundwater pollutants are at 4,000 times the acceptable levels set by the European Union. Some have built homes from materials scavenged from factory structures. Their children use the plant as a playground, while family cows and sheep graze on weeds growing from the slag heaps...

By Colin Woodard, Special to The Christian Science Monitor


More Articles about Porto Romano (2003)

Porto Romano location + sketch map (2003)

Photo Galleries (2003)

Porto Romano at a glance


Chemical Pollution in Porto Romano


Garbage in Porto Romano