Europe | Western Balkans Countries to Reduce Emissions from Coal Plants, Boost Health

Source: Health and Environment Alliance

As of 1 January 2018, the countries of the Western Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) need to start reducing their emissions from large combustion plants and align national laws and rules with EU requirements. This process stems from the Energy Community rules, which require coal plants currently operating in the Western Balkans to cut their emissions gradually from 2018 until the end of 2027.

Ministers at the 15th ministerial council of the Energy Community in Kosovo met on 14 December 2017 to adopt new rules for emission limits for coal power plants in the Western Balkans (as part of the transposition of the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive into national law).

The Western Balkan countries are home to the most polluting coal power plants in the whole of Europe. Annual emissions from the 16 plants (16 GW) in the Western Balkans are almost as high as from the 296 existing plants (156 GW) in the EU-28. Coal power plants in the Western Balkans lead the list of Europe’s top polluters for emissions of particulate matter (PM 2.5) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) and are therefore among the most health harming coal plants. According to the calculations run by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), cutting down the air pollution from these coal power plants could result in 6,460 lives saved each year, as well as saved health costs of up to 2,724 million Euro. 

“Implementing the stricter EU rules on air pollution from coal power plants is a big challenge for the Western Balkan countries – but it is an even bigger opportunity from a health perspective”, explains Vlatka Matkovic Puljic, Health and Energy Officer at HEAL. “Cutting down air emissions from coal power plants will reduce heart and lung disease, cancer, stroke, asthma and even reduce the risk for diabetes. Poor air quality affects especially the most vulnerable in society, children, even in utero, pregnant women, older people and patients who are already ill, so political leaders should not waste any time in improving the air that we breathe.”

Read the full press release from HEAL.

Read HEAL’s briefing: Boosting Health by Improving Air Quality in the Balkans

This post was written by
Comments are closed.