This second coal report from Greenpeace Bulgaria examines two alarming aspects related to the operations of thermal power plants in the country.
Climate change – drought
Burning coal is one of the main causes of climate change. Drought in many parts of the world including Bulgaria is a result of climate change.
- Given the increased level of drought, our country has to make a decision – whether to choose food independency or to artificially support the existing coal power plants.
- Hot and dry summer seasons that are expected to be more common in the coming years present a serious threat to the amount of water used in agriculture as well as to the amount used in the work of thermal power plants.
Water and environmental pollution
The second aspect relates to the lasting water pollution coming from extracting, processing, transporting, burning and disposing of coal.
The whole process – from extraction to burning and waste disposal, including reclamation of land, has a detrimental effect on water, the environment, air quality, human health and local communities close to the mines.
Toxic waste (sly and fly ash), disappeared villages and moon landscape are just few of the most common and obvious consequences. A significant number of the coal mine reclamation attempts in Europe and the United States are inadequate. The “reclaimed” land is never fertile or fit for agricultural activities; water is contaminated, and the black powder of the coal industry marks the local communities forever.
The pollution with waste generated by the burning of coal in the plants in the energy complex “Maritsa East” presents a threat that can be difficult to remove even after closing down the power plants. Together with the unrealistically large amount of water used in the operations of the power plant, pollution is a hindrance to the development of sustainable local economy1 as well as to the food independence of the region.
For these reasons Greenpeace Bulgaria deems it necessary the accelerated close down of the “morally” old power plants and the gradual phase-out of the larger ones. Last but not least, given that there are alternative energy sources Greenpeace Bulgaria considers the expansion of mines “Maritsa East” and the destruction of villages like Troyanovo inadequate from ethical, social as well as practical and ecological point of view.