The lignite-fired power plants in the Western Macedonia Lignite Center produce more than 8106 t of fly ash per year. Approximately 90% of this quantity is used for restoration-reclamation of exhausted open-cast lignite mines and slope stabilization of the overburden. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the environmental behavior of the mixture of waste rock and fly ash that is being used in the external deposition site of the South Field lignite mine. For this reason, a borehole was made within the site and 86 samples were taken and subjected to chemical analyses and leaching tests. The results showed very limited leaching of trace elements and heavy metals from this mixture. Moreover, when compared to the limit values set for waste acceptable in inert waste landfills, only few excesses were observed, indicating only minor risk for groundwater pollution. However, due to the complexity of both the leaching process and the contaminant pathway, more boreholes and analyses should be made in nearby locations and a systematic groundwater monitoring program should be implemented both downstream and within the external deposition site.
Environmental education is the key to enhancing or changing students’ ways of thinking and acting in order to create an environmentally robust future for all. The present study investigates the beliefs of 812 primary school students, which merit consideration when developing educational interventions. Results of multiple regression analyses reveal that educational interventions should focus on promoting students’ feelings of control over pro-environmental behaviors (PEB). For example, schools could provide recycling bins on the premises. Furthermore, it is critical to develop positive attitudes in students by stressing the various benefits of PEB for keeping our planet clean and protecting wildlife. Unfortunately, our results indicate that students believe that PEB is boring and annoying. Suggestions are offered for making PEB more interesting and relevant. Further research is needed to test the effectiveness of interventions based on the present results.