BiH in the World’s Top Countries Dangerously Threatened by Air Pollution: A Time for Action!

Public Announcement of the OpenAQ Workshop Participants

This is a press release written by participants of the Sarajevo OpenAQ Workshop. This has been translated from the Bosnian version.

The OpenAQ* workshop was held in Sarajevo on the 24th and 25th February and with the support of the US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, experts in data processing, journalists, experts in air quality, medical doctors, representatives of civil society organizations, as well as governmental expert institutions met at the workshop to discuss and agree upon the measures necessary to deal with this problem, which is a threat to the health and life of the population and economy of the country.

Participants urgently requested:

From entity ministries of the environment protection:

· Adoption of new laws on air protection, which will be fully harmonized with the relevant directives applicable in the EU countries, which will serve as an important tool in solving problems with air quality in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

· Amending the appropriate entity by-laws with alarm thresholds for particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), as follows:
 — PM10: 200 ug/m3**, if in the next 48 hours is stable weather situation is forecasted.
 — PM2.5: 150 ug/m3**, if in the next 48 hours is stable weather situation is forecasted.

These alert thresholds should be revised and harmonized each year with the values that have been enacted in other states and cities of Europe.

From entity ministries of health:

· to issue instructions to population on ways to protect the health during air pollution emergency episodes.

From entity or cantonal ministries of the environment protection:

· To make plans for emergency measures in accordance with legal norms and local conditions, to be carried out during emergency episodes, which would be effective in stopping further pollution.

From entity funds for environmental protection:

· On the basis of obligations and activities defined in the Air Protection Act and relevant by-laws, which should be executed by local professional institutions, entity and cantonal, to perform planning and allocation of specific and sufficient funds for these purposes.

It is required to do studies, as soon as possible, on the composition and origin of particulate matter (“particulate matter source apportionment studies”) in order to identify sources of pollution and measure their share in the overall pollution, for the cities of Tuzla, Lukavac, Zenica, Sarajevo and Banja Luka, so that long-term measures could be prepared for reduction of pollution in those urban areas.

Studies should be done by the institution based in the EU, with necessary references in this area. In the execution of the studies, the team of local experts should participate, who would be in this way enabled to take further work in this area.

Participants of the OpenAQ workshop:

Adnan Masic, Mašinski fakultet, Sarajevo
 Albin Toljevic, CETEOR Sarajevo
 Amir Smajevic, Zoblak, Sarajevo
 Ana Alebić-Juretić, Univerzitet u Rijeci, Hrvatska
 Anes Podic, “Eko akcija”, Sarajevo 
 Christa Hasenkopf, OpenAQ, Sjedinjene Američke Države
 Enis Omercic, Federalni hidrometeorološki institut, Sarajevo
 Fabien Techene, Internews Kosova / BIRN 
 Faris Delibašić, Prirodno-matematički fakultet, Sarajevo
 Garret Tankosic-Kelly, Principal at SEE Change Net, Sarajevo
 Katja Džepina, Univerzitet u Rijeci, Hrvatska
 Margaret Cormack,Terra Dinarica, Sarajevo
 Matea Grabovac UNEP, BiH
 Paul Frick, US Embassy, BiH
 Sanela Salihagić, Zavod za javno zdravlje Kantona Sarajevo
 Eldina Nizamic, US Embassy, BiH
 Emina Gljiva, CPI Foundation, Sarajevo

*OpenAQ is the community and online platform that brings together scientists, developers and groups whose goal is to empower the public to combat air pollution through the availability of data, open data sources and effective cooperation.

** Average value recorded during the previous 24 hours