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Chinese run for the investments in Balkan: Construction of a new coal power plant unit in Bosnia means affecting health of many people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and more

Investments in the new Coal Power Plant Unit Tuzla it’s not just a Chinese loan, but also the health of citizens. It is time for the Government of BiH to prioritize our health.

According to the Agreement signed between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Exim Bank of China, the loan will be repaid over 20 years by the residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the amount of EUR 613 million, as stated in the agreement itself. However, citizens will pay off much more than loan. The pledge for a new power plant unit also means giving a health of citizens.

The World Health Organization highlights concern for Bosnia and Herzegovina as one of the four countries in the World with the most polluted air, and the largest number of deaths caused by the huge impact of polluted air on human health.

During the two-day Summit of China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which was officially opened on November 26, in Budapest, representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina signed a loan Agreement that will be used for building of Unit 7 - 450 MW – Coal power plant in City of Tuzla.

Denis Žiško from the Center for Ecology and Energy from Tuzla said that "Tuzla has been one of the most polluted cities in Europe for years, and the signing of this loan agreement has been signed on the death penalty for the population of Tuzla Canton."

Emissions of harmful gases from coal-fired power plants contribute to air pollution and are associated with unnecessarily high rates of premature death, chronic lung disease, heart disease and asthma. According to the Health and Environment Alliance’s calculations, 17 people per year will experience premature deaths due to pollution from Unit 7 - Tuzla, which is equal to direct health costs between 6 and 16 million euros.

Assuming that the work of Unit 7 - 450 MW Tuzla will last 45 years, this would mean that 765 people will experience premature death during the existence of this coal power plant station, which is equal to direct health costs between 270 and 720 million euros. In addition to these facts, damages from the Tuzla power plant station should also include damage due to climate change and the health effects and costs associated with it.

"Analyzes show a high level of air pollution that will dramatically affect the health of the inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region," says Vlatka Matković Puljić, Health and Environmental Officer for the Alliance for Health and Environment for the Balkans region - HEAL Balkans. "Investing in such projects means a threath to the environment whose reflections will affect the health of the people of this country, and cause, besides chronic pulmonary diseases, heart disease and asthma, numerous deaths. It is also very embarrassing that as the world economies focus on renewable energy, the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to produce energy-intensive technologies.’’

For more information please read ’’TECHNICAL REPORT - Health Impacts of Coal Fired Power Stations in the Western Balkans’’.

Originally posted on 29 November 2017

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


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