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Air pollution from burning coal hits Bosnian town

Bosnian people walking on the street during heavy smog in northern Bosnian town of Tuzla, 140 kms. north of Sarajevo, Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. Due to heavy fog and air pollution visibility was down to 10 meters (33-feet). Medical officials urged people not to spend too much time outdoors, with particular warnings issued to those suffering from respiratory or heart diseases. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)

ZENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) -- Authorities have ordered factories and homes to stop burning coal in a central Bosnian town where air pollution has reached alarming levels.

Zenica is an industrial town that produces steel and where many homes are heated by burning coal. That sometimes leads to significant air pollution.

Samir Lemes of the citizens association Eco Forum said the concentration of sulfur-dioxide in Zenica's air reached 1.400 micrograms per cubic meter Tuesday, far above the acceptable concentration of 350 micrograms.

Authorities ordered factories to stop production if they have no alternative to burning coal. Families were told to begin burning wood to heat their homes.

The cities of Tuzla and Sarajevo were suffering heavy fog, partly the result of air pollution, but no orders about the burning of coal were given.