The myth that coal is the cheapest form of energy is debunked
The Western Balkans suffer from severe air pollution due to coal-fired power stations operating in the area. In fact, the region depends heavily on coal and lignite, and 7 out of the 10 most polluting stations in Europe are located there. In financial terms, this translates to 8.5 billion € in health costs (including premature deaths, respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, new cases of chronic bronchitis and lower respiratory problems, medication use and lost working days).
A list showing the economic cost of deaths due to air pollution was published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010 and indicates that the problem is also particularly acute in the Caucasian countries. On top of the list is Georgia, losing 35.2% of its GDP annually, followed by Serbia (33.5%), Bulgaria (29.5%), Ukraine (26.7%), Kyrgyzstan (24%), the Republic of Moldova (23.5%) and Bosnia & Herzegovina (21.5%). The list is five years old, but these figures are the latest available and were repeated in another report published by the WHO and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2015.
Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a Brussels-based group campaigning for an end to coal-burning in Europe by 2040. Air pollutants in the Western Balkans, HEAL says, are at levels up to two-and-a-half times above national air quality safety limits, and well beyond what the WHO recommends. A significant part of these pollutants are also carried by the wind, affecting other European countries.
It is obvious that a move away from coal is necessary to protect health and to reduce the carbon emissions responsible for the climate change.
Source: Environmental Expert