By NICOLE TAPTON and RICHARD MARTINESBERG | The Washington Post| January 12, 2020 10:29:30Spain is moving quickly to ban toxic coal dust from its power plants after a toxic bloom in a Madrid industrial area triggered a massive cleanup.
The government has ordered companies to limit emissions to levels not exceeded by at least 80 percent for six months and is requiring them to use more water and sand to remove toxic dust from nearby waterways.
The government has also announced it is creating a special court to enforce the ban.
Spain’s environment minister, José Antonio López, said the ban could last for months, but the ban is not set to be implemented until late this year.
The ban follows the United States and other European nations that have banned coal ash from power plants.
In Europe, the countries are facing public health threats from toxic chemicals.
López told a news conference Tuesday that the European Union would impose a similar ban on coal ash in Spain as soon as possible.
He also said that the ban will be implemented in a phased way.
Spain’s power plants, which emit millions of tons of coal ash a year, are among the biggest emitters of CO2 and sulfur dioxide, two of the most potent greenhouse gases.
A report by the European Commission found that by 2020, Spain’s power sector was responsible for the biggest CO2 increase in the European industrial sector in more than a century.
The EU is investigating how the emissions from coal-fired power plants have affected the health of people and the environment.
The report found that health impacts from air pollution were more serious than health impacts of coal-burning power plants themselves.
A recent study by the Institute of Environmental Research and Education in Barcelona and Spain’s Environmental Protection Agency found that Spain’s coal ash was responsible the biggest source of CO² emissions in Europe.
Spain is the biggest producer of coal in Europe, but its emissions have increased dramatically in recent years.
The country’s coal industry has also seen a surge in pollution and smog.
Since 2000, the country has been under pressure from an unprecedented fire that destroyed much of the countryside.
In recent months, air quality in Madrid has worsened and the capital has been shrouded in a haze that has made travel difficult.
In Spain, some residents are concerned that the country’s largest city, Madrid, is going to face a similar challenge as it struggles with an unprecedented wildfire in the nearby town of Granada.
Madrid’s government has said that it is trying to contain the fires that have been burning in the area.