The ‘Republika’ thermal power plant in Pernik in western Bulgaria is the biggest single air polluter in the European Union.
The lignite-fired power plant has an annual output of more than 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide, about 15,000 tons of sulfur oxides and up to 10,000 tons of dust. The power plant together with several other communist-era industrial plants – mostly metallurgy – make Pernik one of the most unhealthy places to live in all of Europe. In fact, pollution is only worse around the infamous nuclear power plant of Chernobyl in Ukraine but unlike there, more than 100,000 people live in the immediate area of those factories in Pernik.
On the day I took this shot the usual cloud of smoke and fumes was even more conspicuous because of the inverse-pressure weather which kept the polluted air down on the ground. It is not surprising that in Pernik the number of people with lung diseases ranks among the highest in Bulgaria.
Canon EOS 50D & Canon EF 4/24-105 mm L IS USM; f/8.0; 1/1000; ISO 200
(Image Copyright Johann Brandstätter/JB Photography)