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Balkans Task Force (BTF)
Situation Report No. 2

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Wednesday, 12 May 1999
Overview
  • During the recent meeting of European Union Environment Ministers, several delegations expressed concern over the environmental implication of NATO’s bombing campaign.

  • Scientific and environmental groups across the Balkans and the Swiss-based Worldwide Fund for Nature have expressed deep concern over potential ecological effects of the NATO bombing.

  • Around 780’000 refugees have fled to neighboring countries. 36’000 have been evacuated to other parts of Europe, North America and Australia, but 423’000 remain in Albania, 241’000 in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 63’000 in Montenegro and 18’000 in Bosnia and Herzegovina as of 11 May.

  • Since NATO bombardments began, Romania has carried out complex monitoring activities for both air and water quality, which indicate a lack of trans-boundary impacts up to now.

  • The Bulgarian Ministry of Environment is also constantly monitoring the status of the environment, without noting any impact to date.

Major Developments

The difficulty of obtaining clear and verifiable information from within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) has already been mentioned; however, the main sources of reported environmental pollution are targeted oil refineries, factories, chemical plants (including fertilizer and pharmaceutical plants), oil and fuel depots.

Air
  • Since 5 April, portable air control stations have been analyzing the air in Bulgaria along the Yugoslav border. The monitoring system includes 74 stations in 37 centers.1

  • Measures of some gas pollutants were taken in Romania, in the trans-boundary area with Yugoslavia and were correlated with information regarding the prognosis for air movement. The investigations do not show exceedance of the Romanian maximum admissible concentrations. No acid rain has been recorded.2

1. Bulgaria Environmental Ministry, 4/30/99.
2. Ministry of Waters, Forests and Environmental Protection, Bucarest, Romania, 5/10/99.
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