an emerging willow plantlet, May 2022
For energy and heating, Western Balkan countries strongly depend either on low-quality coal inefficiently burned in power plants (strongly emitting air pollutants and greenhouse gases), or on firewood unsustainably extracted from natural forests. Closures of coal mines raise the specter of leaving thousands of miners unemployed. Increased demand for biomass for energy, reduction in firewood supply, increasing distance to harvestable forest sites and increased prices – some being direct effects of the Ukraine conflict - affect the population, above all vulnerable rural people. The Government of Bosnia plans to transform the energy sector. Miners working for the national power company are aware of the 'signs on the wall' and embrace the bid to create biomass energy plantations, as a way to reduce dependence on coal.
Miners in Bosnia's Breza and Kreka coal mine areas have this year (2022) started to plant 15 hectares of new willow plantations, using the support funds attained through this GlobalGiving Campaign. They have prepared the land and removed weeds. Planting is currently (mid-May) under way in three locations, and work is underway to install irrigation to help the plants get over the first hot days when their roots are still not yet deep down in the soil and they are at risk of drying out.
The miners we talked to are well aware that their jobs as mine workers may not be there for future generations, and they love working in the sun, instead of belowground! As one of them, Samir, a foreman, put it: "We are aware of what is going on globally, and we know that our kids will not work in the mines anymore. we like to see these plants grow!"
We appreciate the support given to this activity by our esteemed donors to this campaign. the 2022 planting season is almost over, but we continue collecting contributions so we can support next year's planting campaign again. Thus, thank you greatly for your generous contribution and please continue to support the tree-planting miners in Bosnia!
Samir, a Bosnian miner, on the willow plantation
Freshly planted willow on Breza coalmine, Bosnia
top of a 1-year old willow plant, Kreka, Bosnia
willow plantlets, planted early May, Breza