TUE to SUN 10 A.M. – 7 P.M.

Matteo Trevisan

“More necessary than the sun”

Location: BALKANS

According to the WHO, 90 per cent of the world’s population breathes polluted air, but what is happening in the central Balkans is particularly serious, as Serbia, Bosnia- Herzegovina and Kosovo are the main air polluters on the European continent. Every winter, cities and towns across the region face the serious problem of highly polluted air, leaving people increasingly concerned about the impact on their health and the environment around them. Old coal-fired power stations, polluting industries, open-cast lignite mines and illegal dumps are the main culprits, with some of the region’s cities among the most polluted in the world.

In fact, in 2020, total SO2 emissions from coal fired power-industrial plants in the Western Balkans were 2.5 times higher than from all coal-fired power plants in the EU, according to the Comply or Close report published by Bankwatch and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. Moreover, the United Nations Environment Programme found out that pollutant concentrations in the region are five times higher than the limits set by the European Union.

“More necessary than the sun” is a photographic journey into the heart of the central Balkans, which began in 2022. The project stems from the objective of documenting the consequences of pollution on the environment and the communities most affected by these ” “monsters”, which reflect a new form of neo- colonialism, as these sites are often run by foreign companies.

The first chapter of this project focuses on Bosnia, which sadly represents the most emblematic state in the region. According to the Human Right Watch Report, Bosnia has the fifth highest incidence of deaths due to air pollution globally.

(Project supported by the European Climate Foundation)


Matteo Trevisan is a documentary photographer and videomaker, represented by the Contrasto agency. A passionate mountaineer, born in the border area between Italy and Slovenia, Trevisan’s projects focus mainly on social issues, especially those related to the environment and anthropology. His photographs have been published in major magazines such as the New York Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Internazionale and he has collaborated with various associations, NGOs and important institutions such as the European Climate Foundation, GreenPeace, UNESCO. He is currently working on a personal project on the Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia and on a long-term environmental project in the Central Balkans.