Environmental Problems

Albania Table of Contents

The communist regime's policy of developing heavy industry at all costs caused significant environmental problems. Air and water pollution went unchecked. Despite the scarcity of traffic, a pall of diesel fumes lingered over the country's main roads, a by-product of the poorly refined fuel that powered Albania's trucks and buses. The Elbasan Steel Combine, Albania's largest industrial complex, represented a typical industrial polluter. Proclaimed a symbol of Albania's "second liberation" when it became operational in 1966, the steelworks was equipped with 1950s-vintage Chinese furnaces that filled the Shkumbin River valley with smoke, poisonous gases, and orange-colored particulate. The cyanic acid, ammonia, phenol, and other pollutants that the mill dumped into the river itself rendered it practically lifeless. A United Nations team recommended closing the facility because of the pollution problem.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress