Protesters took to the streets of Belgrade on January 17 to demand that the Serbian government enact measures to “protect the population” from the smog and pollution affecting the Western Balkan nation. Many wore surgical or gas masks as they demonstrated in the center of the country’s capital. Experts have pointed to Serbia’s heavy use of aging coal-fired plants for electricity generation as a key cause of the air-quality crisis. The Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, an international watchdog, said that as many as 175 per 100,000 deaths in Serbia are directly linked to pollution, ranking the European country ninth-worst in the world. President Aleksandar Vucic vowed that the government would take long-term measures to deal with the pollution but said the effects would not be felt for another six years at best.