|Almost all media broadcasted the news „BiH officially the most polluted country in Europe“ and now what?
Bosnia and Herzegovina has the highest concentration of hazardous particles per cubic meter of air, while high level of air pollution led to almost 231 lethal outcomes among 100.000 citizens. It is the second highest result since the World Health Organisation keeps the statistics. Only the North Korea had worse score than BiH, when 238 of 100.000 people were dying due to hazardous air pollution.
We all read this horrible statistics, the citizens are nervous, media broadcast scandalous news, non-governmental organisations mutually communicate and eventually send press releases, but they cannot make any significant change. The question is „Where are the Ministries of Environment in all this?“ Are they getting involved in whatever way in this story? Why do they keep silent and do they intend to take any actions? There are the ministries of environment at entity levels, cantonal levels and in the government of Brčko District, while the municipal departments responsible for environment protection are available at local/municipal level, and it cannot be neglected. One of their work priorities should be preventive action in environment protection sector, particularly when we are witnessing the environmental disasters being constantly repeated from year to year.
Where is the problem?
In the world and the region, the ministries of environment are responsible and strategically assigned to provide for environment protection and health of citizens. Only in our country the situation is totally different. The Ministry of energy plans the national development in this segment, and the fact that they plan the development of production and use of fossil energy (particularly coal) and very irrational energy use in all sectors (public, residential, business) is rather devastating. In addition to high mortality rate due to the polluted air, new power plants utilizing coal are built in our country. It means that the money is available, but it is not properly invested. In all this, the Ministry of Environment keeps silent and “stays aside”.
The repeated negative impact and environment pollution trends may be resolved by system, long-term approach and decreased use of conventional energy production methods. The relevant institutions are obliged to make and implement the public policies in environment and energy sectors, with emphasis on energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources as the best responses to the environmental issues, sustainable development and achievement of better quality of life.
That is why we expect the Ministry of Environment, if nothing else, to protect the health of the citizens. Where are you?
Centre for Development and Support Tuzla