Reuters reported that a few hundred meters from the Chinese owned HBIS’s Smedrevo steel mill in central Serbia, the village of Radinac is covered in thick red dust and cancer rates have quadrupled in under a decade prompting residents to clean up or shut down the plant. Activists say the plant is an example of HBIS ignoring pollution standards. Environmental Group Tvrdjava Head Mr Nikola Krstic said “An analysis of the red dust in September showed high concentration of heavy metals. The air in the town is far below European standards for 120 days per year. Red dust is greasy, it sticks to lungs, makes breathing difficult."China's Hesteel bought it from the Serbian state for EUR 46 million euros five years ago and claims to have has invested EUR 300 million in technology and pollution reduction. Three new production facilities will significantly reduce pollution after their completion in 2022. HBIS Manager for Environmental Protection Ms Ljubica Drake told Reuters "We are all citizens of Smederevo. Would we be working despite pollution, against ourselves and our children? It is not correct to conclude that higher cancer rates were caused by the plant's activities. The disease could be a result of NATO's bombing of Serbia in 1999 during a war in Kosovo.”According to data from the Smederevo public health body, which a watchdog called Tvrdjava obtained through a freedom of information request and shared with Reuters, the municipality of around 100,000 people reported 6,866 cancer cases in 2019, up from 1,738 in 2011.