Locals worry that a Chinese battery plant could damage Hungary’s drought-stricken terrain as electric cars become more popular


As electric cars become more popular, citizens in Hungary’s drought-stricken region of Baranya fear a Chinese-funded battery plant could severely damage the environment. The plant, which is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2022, is expected to produce 100,000 lithium-ion batteries annually. Local residents and environmentalists worry about the impact the construction and operation of the plant will have on the local area.

Pollution is already a major concern for the surrounding area, due to neighboring power plants and other heavy industry. The project’s environmental impact assessment estimated that the plant will produce 18 tons of volatile organic compounds and 16 tons of non-methane organic compounds per year, both of which can contribute to air pollution and further degrade air quality.

The plant will also be located on the edge of a protected area, endangering its farmland and wildlife. Inhabitants of Baranya are particularly concerned about the impact of the factory on their access to water. While the plant will only require two cubic meters of water per hour, locals fear that the danger lies in the quantity of water that will be needed to cool the equipment and to clean the facility.

The project has been fiercely contested by locals, but the local government has granted permission for the factory’s construction. With construction set to begin next year, locals are desperate to have their concerns recognized and addressed. They have reached out to the EU for support, hoping that the issues surrounding the plant will be addressed in a sustainable manner.