BELGRADE (Serbia), September 9 (SeeNews) - The total sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions generated by coal-fired power plants in the Western Balkans in 2020 were 2.5 times higher than those from all coal plants in the EU, despite the new air pollution standards introduced in the past three years, Czech Republic-based non-governmental organisation CEE Bankwatch Network said.
Although a drop in emissions might have been expected in 2020 due to the reduction of economic activity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the plants included in the National Emissions Reduction Plans (NERPs) of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia, emissions increased, rather than decreased, CEE Bankwatch said in its Comply or Close report on the Western Balkans' coal plants published earlier this week.
In 2020, Serbia's NERP plants were the highest SO2 emitters, with 333,602 tonnes, followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina with 220,411 tonnes. The SO2 emissions from Serbia’s coal power plants overtook those from all 221 plants in the entire European Union in 2020.
Health modelling shows that nearly 19,000 deaths occurred from 2018 to 2020 due to the total emissions of coal-fired power plants in the Western Balkans, which resulted in costs between 25.3 billion euro ($29.9 billion) and 51.8 billion euro.
"Overall, health costs of between 6.0 billion euro and 12.1 billion euro are estimated to have been incurred in 2020 due to the emissions exceedances alone from the Western Balkans' coal plants," CEE Bankwatch noted.
Only nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions were still below the sum of the countries' ceilings for 2020 – 0.9 times as much as allowed. However, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo breached their national ceilings, and regionally, NOx emissions have slightly increased.
($ = 0.84582 euro)