Serbian capital engulfed in smoke from landfill fire

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) – A fire broke out at a large rubbish dump near Belgrade, prompting city officials to warn residents of the Serbian capital to stay indoors on Sunday.

Much of Belgrade was covered in smoke, foul smells and haze after the fire that broke out in Europe’s second largest landfill site, located in the village of Vinca on the outskirts of the city.

Belgrade Mayor Zoran Radojcic said the blaze was under control, but added that Belgrade residents should close their windows and refrain from leaving their homes if they smell smoke.

“Although people are likely to see the smoke over the next few days, I assure you there is no need to fear and panic,” Radojcic said.

Environmental groups on Sunday urged Serbia’s populist government to warn people of the “dangerous smoke”, but national authorities have remained largely silent.

The Vinca landfill has been a source of air, soil and water pollution for decades, despite significant foreign and domestic investments to close the site and move it away from the capital of 2 million people .

Belgrade has often been ranked among the worst European cities for air pollution, along with the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo.

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Follow all of AP’s stories on pollution and climate change issues at https://apnews.com/hub/climate.

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