The United Nations Day in BiH Marked by a Thematic Conference "Clean Air for All"
Knowing that the level of air pollution in BiH is about four times higher than the limit value set by the World Health Organization, United Nations agencies gathered around the UN A.I.R. initiative called for a comprehensive approach to address this problem with the active participation of the authorities at all levels and the population.
"Air pollution requires multi sectoral and multi stakeholder responses. There is no single cause or a single solution to air pollution. Industrial emissions, car exhausts, household heating or natural occurrences such as dust storms. Many things contribute to air pollution. That is why responses and solutions require cooperation and coordination among government, industry, scientific community and most importantly, citizens," said Sezin Sinanoglu, United Nations Resident Coordinator in BiH. Sinanoglu also pointed out that the UN would support the adoption of additional regulations and laws as well as their implementation with the aim of improving air quality in BiH. „Solutions to air pollution should have multiplier effects. Investing in the quality and accessibility of public transport not only reduces air pollution, but also helps reduce accidents, save time and decreases impact on climate change. Improving energy efficiency in buildings, not only reduces emissions but also alleviates poverty and improves quality of life. And the list goes on… Let’s aim for such solutions that can help deal with the many issues around climate change, affordable energy and the like.“
Federal Minister of Environment and Tourism Edita Đapo said that in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina the Law on Air Protection was adopted with appropriate regulations that precisely define the obligations of both the authorities and the operators, and it is also about harmonizing these documents with the directives of the European Union.
"Poor air quality affects not only people's health, but also causes damage to agriculture, forestry ... I think it is important that all levels of government in BiH work together with the international community to address the problem of air pollution, without which there is no economic development."
Srebrenka Golić, Minister of Physical Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of Republika Srpska, emphasized that the issue of air pollution in BiH dates back long, only to say that much has not been said. Minister Golić pointed out that it is important to work to minimize pollution and to minimize pollutants.
Head of the European Center for Environment and Health at the World Health Organization for Europe, Elizabeth Paunovic, recalled that in Bosnia and Herzegovina, more than three thousand people die annually due to exposure to polluted air, and long-term exposure to harmful particles causes cardiovascular disease, stroke, respiratory illness.
Among the measures to reduce air pollution, it is recommended to move from fossil (coal and wood) to sustainable sources of energy (wind, sun, gas), district heating, introduce legislation prohibiting smoking in public areas, as this contributes to air pollution.
Conclusions of the conference:
- Awareness of the consequences of air pollution on human health and ecosystems needs to be improved
- A reliable emission register and air quality monitoring, as well as the level of impact on human health and the environment, are the necessary basis for decision-making
- Air Quality Improvement Plans should identify and address all sources of pollution by giving priority to innovative and comprehensive measures that give multiple benefits
- Air pollution requires multisectoral congestion and the inclusion of a large number of interested parties