Governments and the press have paid a lot of attention this year to the question of whether depleted uranium weapons used by NATO in the Balkans may be causing illnesses — but the region is facing other environmental problems whose deadly consequences are more clear, even if less publicized. The situation is especially dire in Kosovo, where lead levels in the air and water are sometimes 200 times higher than international standards; untreated sewage spills into the streets; toxic metals leak from decaying factories; and raw waste flows into rivers, leaving them dead for stretches. Fourteen-year-old Nexhat Gashi hasn’t heard of the depleted uranium scare, but wonders, “The whole environment of Kosovo is sick. Why isn’t anyone trying to fix that first?”

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