• Macedonian government forced to take emergency action after heavy air pollution

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Heavy smog in Macedonia has forced the government to take emergency actions to curb air pollution. The winter smog, blamed on a mix of aging, inefficient coal firing, industry and car emissions, reached a point where outdoor sports were banned, travel on trains and buses was made free, and at-risk people were excused from work. The wider Balkans region has five of the ten worst air-polluted cities in Europe, according to the World Health Organisation, and analysis by the Health and Environment Alliance has found that 16 communist era lignite-fired plants produce as much pollution as all of the EU’s 296 power plants combined. With the plants nearing the end of their lives, there are moves afoot to replace them with new, more efficient coal-fired plants, but this faces understandable opposition from those with public health and environmental concerns.