Sarajevo, August 19, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Mladen Dragojlovic
According to the World Health Organization, BiH is losing 21.5% of its GDP (US$ 7228 millions) annually due to heavy air pollution. The European Environment Agency (EEA) in its report for 2015 estimated that over 44,000 years of life are lost in BiH each year due to particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide or ozone pollution.
In order to warn the public about this problem, for the second year in a row, the United Nations Environment Programme and Sarajevo Film Festival are joining forces to dedicate one day of the Festival’s program to the environment in BiH. This day is known as EnviroDay.
As it was announced from United Nations Environment Programme, this year’s EnviroDay will voice the issue of poor air quality and climate change issues in BiH a through an interactive series of public and high-level events advocating a behavioral change – therefore implementing the Climate Agreement on the ground.
“The main sources of poor air quality and high GHG emissions in Sarajevo are individual household stoves and local heating that use coal, wood charcoal, heavy fuel oil, then traffic, high heat losses in residential sector, industrial energy of high intensity, and inappropriate treatment of the issue of air pollution in the process of developing and implementing local spatial and urban plans” says the UNEP in its announcement.
Also, a special photographic exhibition on air quality monitoring in BiH was opened in Sarajevo on August 17, as part the EnviroDay. The exhibition was hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme, EU Delegation and EUSR in BiH, EU Info Centre, Regional Education and Information Centre for Sustainable Development in South-East Europe, Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Environmental Protection of the Sarajevo Canton and the Sarajevo Film Festival.
Opening the exhibition, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to BiH, Renzo Daviddi, commended the joint efforts to organise a public environment event at the regional festival of this kind.
“It is useful to have such an event related to important issues of environment protection hosted at the film festival in order to attract more attention of the public and invite them to get more involved in policy and decision-making processes concerning environment protection in the country. I hope that this will initiate a series of other environment-related discussions on a regular basis in the future”, Daviddi said.
Pier Carlo Sandei, United Nations Environment Programme Officer, recalled the heavy air pollution in Sarajevo last year as well as the importance of addressing the issue of air pollution. He emphasized that last winter’s air pollution in Sarajevo clearly indicates that the air pollution topic is discussed only when it becomes too late, when the winter comes and the heating season begins. He also noted the last Progress Report in which the European Commission included the recommendations in terms of air pollution monitoring mechanisms.
“The European Commission indicated the necessity of improving the state of affairs of the BiH environment as well developing the air pollution monitoring mechanisms”, Sandei concluded.
The exhibition will be open in the premises of the EU Info Centre, until September 9, on working days from 09:30 to 17:30 hrs.