Coal exploitation for new thermal power plants in region of West Balkans creates environment problems claim the regional NGO network. HEAL report provides an estimate of the total health damage from air pollution released from existing coal power plants in five Western Balkans for the European region, and for Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo.
New study quantifies the public health costs of polluted air from existing coal-fired power plants in the Western Balkans at up to 8.5 EUR billion per year.
The region is home to seven of the 10 most polluting coal-fired power stations in Europe. Fumes from these plants contribute to air pollution, which is a serious health risk in these countries. Polluted air is associated with unnecessarily high rates of premature death, chronic lung disease, heart conditions and asthma.
Europe’s leaders should support countries in the region by encouraging a move away from coal to improve health and tackle climate change.
HEAL released the first-ever estimates of the huge health costs associated with air pollution from coal power plants in the Western Balkans. The report provides an estimate of the total health damage from air pollution released from existing coal power plants in five Western Balkans for the European region, and for Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo. The estimated health costs of future coal plants in the Western Balkans are also given.
Currently home to 15 existing coal plants with an installed capacity of 8.1 gigawatt (GW), the Western Balkans could see the installation of 24 new projects with 7.8 GW capacity.
The findings are being presented at a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia. With health costs of up to 3.1 EUR billion per year, existing coal plants in Bosnia and Herzegovina contribute about one third to the total health costs.
The costings of the significant health damage should prompt a rethink on the EU’s policy approach to the region, with European decision-makers increasing financial support for a healthy energy future and pulling their weight for air quality and pollution control in the region. The Western Balkan policy-makers should now make decarbonisation their priority and support the rapid phase out of coal power generation.