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SKOPJE (Macedonia), January 31 (SeeNews) - Macedonia's State Environmental Inspectorate decided to keep the
Jugohrom Ferroalloys plant closed for another three months due to its failure to install dedusting equipment, the country's environment ministry said on Tuesday.
The inspectorate decided to suspend Jugohrom's operations in November after the plant failed to install filtration system by the October 31 deadline.
According to local media reports, Jugohrom workers will block the Tetovo-Skopje road for two hours on Tuesday in protest against the plant's shutdown, claiming it is not the main pollutant in the region.
According to Macedonian environmental non-governmental organistaion Eco Guerilla, air quality in the region has significantly improved after Jugohrom suspended operations.
The concentration of average of PM10 - fine particles of 10 micrometres or less - in November was 88.8 μg/m3, compared to 173.4 μg/m3 in November 2015 when the factory was working, Eco Guerilla said. In December the average of PM10 was 157.4 μg/m3 versus 316.0 μg/m3 a year ago.
The World Health Organisation guideline value of PM10 concentration is 20 μg/m3 annual mean and 50 μg/m3 24-hour mean. Increased concentration of fine particles in the air causes respiratory infections, heart disease, stroke, cancer and death.
The plant is located in Jegunovce village in the western part of the country, around 10 km from Tetovo.
Jugohrom, which operates seven furnaces and employs 1,250 workers, produces ferro-silicon.