Coal-fired Power Plants of the Western Balkans Cost Bulgaria up to EUR 700m a Year

The European Union needs to take tougher measures for 16 power plants in 5 Western Balkan countries because the carbon dioxide and microparticles it throws are responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 people each year, reports Dnevnik. 

Only in 2016 obsolete TPPs in Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro caused the deaths of 253 people in Bulgaria. In the same year, the costs of the Bulgarians related to the effect of the harmful emissions of these plants were estimated within EUR 300-700 million (10-18% of health costs). This puts Bulgaria in sixth place in the top 10 of the most financially disadvantaged countries.

This is said in a report released Tuesday in Brussels on "Chronic Coal Pollution - EU action in the Western Balkans will improve health and economies across Europe". Behind it there are five nature conservation organizations: HEAL, CAN Europe, Sandbag, CEE Bankwatch Network and Europe Beyond Coal.

In it, the authors explain that the 16 plants, with a total capacity of 8 gigawatts, emitted as much sulfur dioxide as 206 coal-fired power plants in the EU with 30 times the capacity (156 gigawatts) in 2016. Only the Uhljevik plant in Bosnia and Herzegovina has ejected more sulfur dioxide than all coal-fired power stations in Germany.

The main reason is the use of cheap and affordable lignite in the area, but also the weak reaction of the EU.

The listed Balkan countries have been members since 2005 of the Energy Community Treaty, which aims to integrate the EU energy market with its neighbors. With it, they committed themselves to implementing pollution abatement and alignment with EU standards by 2018. But mandatory investment in new plants or technologies to reduce emissions...

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