Surviving in Zenica
Zenica was one of the largest industrial cities of the Ex Yugoslavia. Zenica is about 70 km from Sarajevo. Before the conflict, that devastated Bosnia in the 90s, the steel factory was a state factory. After the war, the fall of socialist ideology and the entry of private capital in the country, the steel plant was privatized. As in the rest of the country the wave of privatization caused employment reductions in factories privatized and liberalization of the production. In addition to this, to encourage an increase in foreign investment, the government passed a series of laws to facilitate investment at the expense of the environment and workers’ rights. The new owner from 2004 is Arcelor Mittal. The steel mill emits large amounts of fine particles and pollutants that enter the human body through the food chain.
In 2014 the anger of citizens exploded across the region and returns the strong pressure against the steel factory which in addition to not give more work as in the 80s pollute the environment. The tension among the workers, who have the veto to talk about work situation inside the factory, and citizens forced to live in a highly polluted area, is high. Environmental groups have organized demonstrations to put pressure on management and the governator of Zenica managing to get a display that returns the density of fine particles in the air and the obligation for the company to install scrubbers and filters on chimneys.