Latvians, Lithuanians Protest Baltic Pollution
Tens of thousands of Lithuanians and Latvians formed human chains along the Baltic seacoast Saturday in anti-pollution protests demonstrating newly awakened environmental awareness in the Soviet Union.
The Tass news agency said Lithuanians joined hands to form a human chain along the Baltic republic’s entire coastline and Latvians carrying candles had formed a chain stretching 22 miles over the beaches of the resort of Jurmala during “a minute in memory of the sea.”
Tass said people who converged on the coast from all over Lithuania had formed a chain from Palanga in the north through the Klaipeda resort to Neringa in the south, where offshore oil prospecting has upset environmentalists.
Sewage Spews Into Sea
In Latvia, where raw sewage spews into the sea, speakers called for the construction of reliable purification facilities before the target date of the year 2000, Tass said.
“What if this turns out to be too late?” one speaker said.
Tass did not mention any coastline protests in Estonia, Latvia’s northern neighbor, but it said ecological rallies addressed by doctors, lawyers, scientists, sociologists and writers were held in cities in all three Baltic republics.
It said the Environmental Protection Club which organized the action in Latvia had called on the Finnish Parliament and the Swedish branch of the world ecological organization Greenpeace to support their Baltic protection drive.
The Baltic republics have taken the lead in expressing concern about the environment in the Soviet Union. Requests from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for greater autonomy from Moscow have stressed ecology as strongly as economic concerns.