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SKOPJE (Macedonia), March 2 (SeeNews) - Macedonia’s Jugohrom Ferroalloys relaunched production on Tuesday after a temporary shutdown, aimed at reducing air pollution in the region, state news agency (MIA) reported.
The decision for the two-month plant's closure was taken in December, after massive protests against air pollution in Skopje and Tetovo. Jugohrom was believed to be the main culprit for the high levels of air pollution in Tetovo.
"Our claim that Jugohrom is not the only polluter, nor the biggest polluter in the region turned out to be true, so after the two-month halt we relaunch the output starting with two furnaces with a combined power of 25 MW," Vasko Skenderovski, director general of Jugohrom, said as quoted by MIA.
The company will gradually relaunch the production at full capacity, Skenderovski said.
Several days ago, ecological NGO Eco Guerilla released a statement rising concerns about the reopening of the plant saying that when comparing the pollution levels in February 2015 and February 2016, it turns out that in the period of the plant's halt, the PM10 emissions decreased by 41%. Such a change was not noted in Skopje, for example, where the difference for the like period was only 0.1%, the organisation added.
"The only change is that during these two months the Jugohrom plant is not working. Figures say more than thousand words," Eco Guerilla said.
The measurements of the pollution levels were made by the country's environment ministry.
Simultaneously with the plant restarting, Jugohrom will continue to work on the installation of de-dusting equipment in the plant. Presently the company is in the last stage of acquisition of building permit for the air pollution control equipment. Skenderovski said he expects the de-dusting equipment to be installed until the end of October, as previously agreed.
Jugohrom, which operates seven furnaces and has 1,250 workers, is based near Tetovo, in the country's northwest.