Country Listing

Yugoslavia Table of Contents



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