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Yugoslavia: Pollution
Country Study > Chapter 2 > The Society and Its Environment > Geography and Population > Pollution


After World War II, industrialization and urban development progressed rapidly in Yugoslavia. As in other East European countries, the environmental effects of such growth went unrecognized for many years. In the 1980s, a constitutional amendment and numerous environmental protection laws were passed, but they had little initial effect on pollution of the air, soil, and water. A small green movement struggled to bring the problem onto the political agenda, but it had achieved little political influence in 1990. Yugoslavia's air suffered from sulfur dioxide pollution from vehicle emissions, trash fires, and the burning of high-sulfur lignite (soft coal) in power plants and home heating units. Oil spills frequently appeared on the Sava River; dangerous levels of phenol in the Ibar River occasionally required the town of Kraljevo to shut off its water supply; and the artificial lake above the Djerdap Hydroelectric Station on the Danube was referred to as the "dump of Europe." Nuclear waste from Yugoslavia's only nuclear electric plant, at Krsko in Slovenia (a main target of the Greens), had almost filled its subterranean nuclear waste storage facilities in 1991. Deforestation increased soil erosion problems, and mounds of trash littered the roadsides in most eastern and southern rural areas.

Data as of December 1990

Last Updated: December 1990

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Yugoslavia was first published in 1990. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

Yugoslavia Main Page Country Studies Main Page

Section 39 of 208


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