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One of the basic problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina is that we are always dealing with consequences - never causes. We constantly have discussions in the media about how dissatisfied we are with political elites, dissatisfied with the economy, dissatisfied with the environment - but repeatedly our story is focused on consequences, not on causes and concrete things on which we can initiate positive change.

What's happening?

Bosnia and Herzegovina is dying. He dies because of "us" and everyone has to take their share of responsibility for it. According to a World Bank report, we are the worst in Europe when it comes to the ratio of emigrants to population, which is 49.5%. That would mean that about 2 million of our people are in exile, which ranks us as the 16th in the world. However, there is one thing that is even worse than this data. We are second in the world in something - and that is air pollution. Only North Korea has more polluted air than us, according to the World Health Organization. Every year, 3,500 of us die from the effects of air pollution, and according to some estimates, air pollution in Bosnia "eats" 21.5 percent of gross domestic product through reduced human productivity and the cost of treating diseases caused by polluted air. Even when we add to that the consequences that will be left behind and that are already being left by the COVID-19 pandemic, we come to the conclusion that the red alarm has been set for a long time.

Lake at Dusk
Misty Morning

Who's in trouble?

Almost all major cities face the problem of insufficient air quality, which is unhealthy for people. It is mostly about excessive concentrations of PM particles and nitrogen oxides, therefore, everything that is created by burning fossil fuels: be it diesel, coal or burning wood. It has become common knowledge that exposure to highly polluted air increases the risk of respiratory infections, heart attack, stroke and lung cancer. Already ill people are at risk, and the most vulnerable categories are children, the elderly and the extremely poor due to lifestyles. It is worth adding that the most harmful pollutants are the so-called. fine suspended particles (PM2.5) because they penetrate deep into the airways. Harmful effects are caused by short-term (several hours, days) as well as long-term exposure (several months, years) to polluted air. 

Recommendations to citizens

In order to experience as few negative consequences of the situation in which we find ourselves, we recommend citizens to adhere to the following recommendations as much as possible

  • Follow air quality warnings and information

  • Reduce staying and moving outside in times of increased pollution

  • If you are unhealthy, restrict children from moving outside

  • Avoid allowing children to play near busy streets. Vehicles pollute the air up to 500 meters from the roads, even when measuring stations away from the roads show that the air is clean.

  • Do not allow smoking indoors, especially where pregnant women, children, heart and lung patients

  • Do not heat the rooms where you are staying with coal stoves. According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, burning coal in furnaces is extremely dangerous to health and should be banned due to the emission of a number of harmful and carcinogenic substances.

  • Check and maintain stoves, salt pans and chimneys regularly. Clear the rooms where smoke appears as soon as possible.

Where to get air quality data?

We are of the opinion that it is worrying that Bosnia and Herzegovina has an extremely small number of measuring stations that measure all relevant indicators related to air quality, which is one of the reasons why there is a lack of information and reminding citizens that air pollution is much more intense in winter. the rest of the year.

For this reason, we have installed air quality sensors in five municipalities in northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina, and installed a technical solution at the Green Team premises, which provides real-time information 24/7 to anyone who recognizes the importance of this data.

For those who want to get information online, among other things, we suggest the following links:

- PurpleAir  

- HMZ of Republika Srpska


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