“United Balkans for Clean Air!” Campaign – focus on closing coal-fired power plants
June 15, 2023

The regional campaign “United Balkans for Clean Air” starts on December 20, organized second year in a row, and its focus this year is to close coal-fired power plants in the region as soon as possible, and invite citizens to participate in decision-making. The aim of the campaign is to raise citizens’ awareness in the in the region about the causes and consequences of air pollution, possible ways to improve air quality, and the fight for a healthier environment through regional solidarity. “United Balkans for Clean Air” is implemented by the European Fund for the Balkans, supported by numerous organizations: Eco Forum from Zenica, Institute for Territorial Environmental Management from Tirana, Sbunker and Balkan Green Foundation from Pristina, Air Care from Skopje, OZON Podgorica,

-“This year, the campaign will focus, on pollution consequences caused by coal-fired power plants, as well as pollution from heavy industry. The participants in the information campaign are committed to rapid closure of coal-fired power plants and the urgent harmonization of heavy industry pollution with the appropriate regulatory framework. We demand the citizens to be involved in making decisions on environmental permits and other documents related to production plants, according to the European Fund for the Balkans. Coal combustion, as pointed out, is the single largest source of air pollution in the Western Balkans, with thermal power plants playing a major role. EU imports of electricity produced from the Western Balkans amount to 0.3 % from EU electricity consumption, but the sulfur dioxide emissions from this production represent 50 of all emissions from EU thermal power plants. Apart from industry, coal is also consumed in households and heating plants; According to the participants in the campaigns, the cessation of the use of this fossil fuel will eliminate the main source of air pollution in the Western Balkans. The loss of GDP due to air pollution in the Western Balkans in 2016 alone amounted to 8.5 billion euros. Instead of building and renovating thermal power plants, budget funds could be used for social programs and workerсќ retraining as well as the construction of solar power plants on the site of coal mines that would replace the existing “dirty” electricity generation facilities. Doing so, the transformation of the industry could be the greenest on the continent, according to the European Fund for the Balkans. Through a struggle based on solidarity, the fund says, the citizens of the Western Balkans can work together to achieve cleaner technologies and a healthier future. 


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