This video says about itself:
‘We Are Choking’ – Air Pollution Protest In Kosovo Capital
31 January 2018
Translated from Dutch NOS TV:
Updated at 18:30
by Mitra Nazar, Balkan correspondent
Kosovo is suffering from the most serious air pollution in years. Now the government is planning to build a new, modernized, coal [lignite]-fired power plant. This power plant must replace two very outdated plants, the biggest cause of air pollution in the country. But local residents and activists are afraid it will not solve anything.
In February hundreds of Kosovars took to the streets in the capital Pristina. Demonstrating with masks on, they protested against bad air quality. “Do not poison us any longer” and “Let’s save Pristina” was on their banners.
In Kosovo, air pollution this winter was so bad that the government recommended residents in late January not to go outside. On some days, the levels of pollution in the air were higher than those in notoriously polluted cities in China and India. Emergency measures were taken, cars were banned from the Pristina city center for two days, but there was no structural solution. …
Most polluted region
They are two of the most polluting coal-fired plants in Europe, they are less than ten kilometers from the capital, in Obelic municipality. …
For a number of years, doctors have seen an increase in the number of patients with respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Symptoms are most common in Obelic, where more than 20,000 people live at the foot of two coal-fired plants and three mines. …
“Everyone knows someone with cancer”, says Ragip Rajcevci (53) who lives in Hade, a village in Obelic municipality. He says that the air is worst in the morning. “Then there is a sea of smog above the village, when I step out of my house I can hardly breathe.”
Children and the elderly are advised not to spend too much time outside the homes. Rajcevci says that many people suffer from lung diseases, asthma or bronchitis. The village where he lives has been on a list for evacuation for years, because it is too close to an open mine, but nothing has happened.
Now there are advanced plans for a new coal power plant, called Kosovo C, in the same area. In December 2017, the Kosovar government signed a contract with the American electricity company ContourGlobal with support from the World Bank. The new plant must be finished in 2023. Action groups have been lobbying for years to stop this.
“The government’s argument is that Kosovo C will be cleaner”, says Haki Abazi of KOSID, an environmental lobby group. “But that’s nonsense, clean coal-fired power stations do not exist.” … Abazi believes that Kosovo should invest in green energy, instead of building a coal-fired power station again. …
For Ragip Rajcevci, the news about another coal-fired power plant in his backyard came as a shock. For years he has been fighting for better air quality for him and his children, and the generations that are still coming.
“They can tell us as many fairy tales as they want”, he says. “That the new power plant will become cleaner, and that they will shut down the old power stations, but for us Kosovo C is a new source of cancer, and while the whole world is busy with alternatives to lignite, we are building a coal-fired power plant.”