The director of the Petnica research station, Vigor Majić, says that the coal mafia is the most responsible for the exponential increase in air pollution in Serbia because it sells mining waste with a large percentage of clay claiming it’s coal. Majić says that this is a taboo subject that the authorities refuse to talk about in public.
He points out that air pollution has increased rapidly in the last 15 years and explains the reasons for this increase.
“Until the 1990s, the sale of raw lignite was prohibited. It was industrial coal and you could not buy it for use at home. When the possibility of importing coal from Bosnia ceased, the sale of raw lignite was allowed and subsequently, there was a strong increase in pollution. The leap occurred four or five years ago, and in Belgrade, a year ago. There is a coal mafia that digs out and sells mining residues. The REIK (Kolubara Mining and Energy Industrial Complex) allows these residues containing 30-40% clay to be sold as cheap coal,” says Majić.
The expert points out that hundreds of thousands of families buy this so-called coal.
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“That is why there was a sudden increase in the concentration of PM10 in Valjevo, Lajkovac, Ub and Lazarevac. This is not coal because it contains a huge amount of clay that is heavy, hygroscopic and makes the smoke fall to the ground instead of going up in the air. This is a taboo subject and nobody wants to talk about it. We don’t talk about coal and we don’t talk about lignite”, underlined the director of Petnica.
The report on the state of air quality, published by the Environmental Protection Agency, shows that last year the air in 14 towns in Serbia was too polluted, exceeding the concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 suspended particles which Ognjan Pantić, coordinator of the project ‘Energy, Climate and the Environment’ calls silent killers.
Towns across the country have been reported increased pollution, and the forecasts say that it will be like that all winter long.
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