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Impacts of coal on health in Serbia highlighted

In an interview for the ‘Open School Belgrade’ in Serbia, Vlatka Matkovic Puljic, HEAL’s Project Coordinator on Energy and Health for South and Central East European countries, highlights public health threats from coal and Serbia’s climate change ambition.

Earlier this year, members of the medical community in Serbia, supported by HEAL, launched an “expert statement” on reducing chronic disease by cutting the dependency on fossil fuels in the country. This call was heard by the Serbian Ministry of Health, with the Deputy Health Minister Dr. Berislav Vekic urging for the consideration of health protection in energy choices. Other experts stressed that the long-term effects on health of the Serbian population should be taken into account when developing national energy policies.

In an interview for the Open School Belgrade (available in Serbian only), Vlatka spoke about the energy policy without negative impacts on public health and climate change in Serbia, and the future of the Energy Community, the new proposal of the development strategy of the energy sector in Serbia. HEAL’s future plans in Serbian were also discussed. Serbia invests heavily in coal, and is one of the biggest single contributors to global carbon emissions, doing little on renewables. Around 10,000 people in Serbia die prematurely each year due to exposure to particulate matter (PM) and ozone in polluted air. Serbia has the second highest mortality rate in Europe and a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) puts the country’s health costs from population exposure to polluted air at 29 billion USD per year, equivalent to a third of Serbia’s GDP.

Link to the interview available here

Originally posted on 17 September 2015

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