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18 Dec 2017

Ioana Ciuta, Bankwatch (EU)

Bosnia & Herzegovina: Air pollution worsens in Tuzla while govt. plans for more coal power, expected to be built by Chinese companies

"Race to the bottom: dire air quality worsens as BiH government mulls new coal plant at Tuzla", 22 November 2017

In 2016, our particulate matter (PM) monitoring results [in Tuzla] were both PM10 and PM2.5 values above the recommended limits set in Bosnia and Herzegovina and by the World Health Organisation... The Tuzla coal power or the associated ash disposal site, or both, are responsible for the spikes [in emissions]... The air quality in Tuzla is dire and has attracted the attention recently from international media outlets, [y]et the Federal Government is set to give the green light to the state owned energy company, Elektroprivreda BiH, to build yet another unit at Tuzla’s power plant. The 450 MW proposed Tuzla 7 project would require additional coal capacity. The project promoters claim that the new unit would be in line with the EU pollution standards, but the project’s environmental permit/EIA clearly suggests the project will not meet the EU’s recently-adopted Best Available Techniques (BAT) standards... Local opposition to a new ash disposal site is high, and in April 2016 the local community representatives delivered a petition with 2100 signatures against the proposal to the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism...

The plant is expected to be built by China Gezhouba Group and Guangdong Electric Power Design, according to an EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) contract signed in May 2016... Local civil society representing the affected communities have since 2013 made efforts to alert China Eximbank and Chinese authorities overseeing overseas projects including Tuzla 7 about the non-compliance of these practices, but their complaints have fallen on deaf ears... While the spirit of the Green Credit Directive and other recent ‘green policies’ launched jointly with China’s Belt and Road Initiative are laudable, if China Eximbank finances projects like Tuzla 7 and others in the pipeline, there won’t be much left to inspire confidence about China’s green leadership...