Turkish Driver Charged for Causing Toxic Spill in BulgariaCrime | August 30, 2011, Tuesday // 12:01| views
In July, firefighters and the Civil Defense team worked for 18 hours to secure and remove the overturned Turkish cistern. Photo by BGNES
The Regional Prosecutor's Office in the central Bulgarian city of Veliko Tarnovo has pressed charges against Turkish driver, Yumer Var, 45, over him causing a harmful spill.
Var is charged with two counts - polluting the environment and transporting hazardous substances without a permit in the causing of an accident on July 11 near the town of Debelets in the Veliko Tarnovo area.
The incident happened when a Turkish cistern truck transporting amounts of a dangerous chemical rolled over, triggering the evacuation of 2 200 residents of Debelets, including 51 toddlers and babies.
Over 4 tons of styrene, which is used to make plastic, were spilled and a toxic cloud was formed.
The Regional Governor declared an emergency situation in the town.
The driver was arrested and was kept behind bars for 24 hours. Upon expiration of the 24 hours, his ID documents were taken away on the order of the Prosecutor's Office and under the Foreign Citizens Act, so that he couldn't leave the country before the end of the investigation.
A probe of the Bulgarian Automobile Inspection, DAI, revealed Var did not own a certificate allowing him to transport hazardous substances.
The probe further showed the cistern did not have signs it contains such substances while the driver did not have a break in the last 24 hours before the incident.
According to the indictment, the spill polluted the soil and the waters of the Belitsa River. Firefighters and the Civil Defense team worked for 18 hours to secure and remove the overturned Turkish cistern. The cost of the operation is estimated at BGN 18 000.
Var was fined in the amount of BGN 8 000 while DAI fined the Istanbul-based carrier company "Tap Ted Global Logistics" with BGN 5 000.
The trial is expected to begin in the next few days.
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