The level of air pollution in Tuzla, Zenica, Lukavac, and Sarajevo is alarming, which is confirmed by registered measures that indicate several times the upper allowable limit emissions of pollutants, primarily SO2 and fine particles. Excessive pollution, unfortunately, is confirmed by the increasing frequency of illnesses borne by the citizens, often resulting in death. This is only part of what was discussed yesterday at the thematic session of the House of Representatives of the FBiH Parliament on the problem of air pollution in the Federation which was initiated by the MPs, primarily Amra Karačić from DF.
Through discussion of the MPs, but also representatives of eco-associations from Sarajevo, Zenica, Lukavac, and Tuzla, a series of conclusions were proposed, which a working group that was formed yesterday will send to voting at the next session. Offered were solutions ranging from the lowering of gas prices, increasing of sanctions for pollutants and the reinforcement of inspection supervision, to urgent investment in purifiers.
MPs were presented with information from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and addressed by representatives of the supervisory inspection, the Environmental Protection Fund, the Federal Hydrometeorological Institute, and members of ecological associations from Zenica, Tuzla, Lukavac and Sarajevo.
Member of the Eco-Forum Zenica Dr. Harun Drljević said that the air and ground of Zenica have been continuously polluted for an entire century. He warned for disastrous consequences of pollution on the health of citizens: "The main problem is the unacceptable irresponsibility and lack of seriousness of the local community. In Zenica there is no active measurement of pollution. I agree that the employment is a priority for our society, but I do not pretend to be a citizen of the third order. I know that you are not responsible for this alarming situation, but this doesn't mean you are granted amnesty to confront this growing evil, because you are obligated by your constituents, the future of BiH, and the health of our children."
Samir Lemeš from the Eco-Forum Zenica said that emergency measures, which were implemented on several occasions in Zenica, did bring positive results, and pollution decreased in only a few hours time.
"Don't shift responsibility to each other, from the FBiH to the cantons and vice versa. Who is prohibitng you from sitting together and finding a solution. We are struggling with a problem that the Western world resolved 30 or 40 years ago. Let's face the problem that we have been pushing under the carpet," he said.
Director of the Federal Hydrometeorological Institute, Almir Bijedić, pointed out that the excessive pollution of the FBiH is most present in valleys and urban industrial areas from October to March. He explained that most frequent are SO2 concentrations in Zenica, Tuzla, Lukavac, Kakanj, and Živinice, and exceeding levels of nitrogen oxides in Sarajevo.
Who is responsible?
Assistant to the Minister of Environment, Mehmed Cero, said that the total income of the Fund for Environmental Protection in 2015 was 21.5 million KM, and that the budget of the City of Tuzla received 5.2 million KM from allocations from the law of income distribution from companies operating thermal power plants.
Environment fees for registering motor vehicles collected and additional 10.4 million KM.
Džemila Agic from the Tuzla Centre for Ecology, following the presentation of data on pollution and the effects of pollution on the health of citizens, she asked, "who will be responsible for all this?" She said that, among other things, required is the urgent desulphurisation of the blocks in Tuzla: "We're looking to do something to protect the citizens, not because it the EU requested something. The citizens of Tuzla have had enough, we can't wait anymore. We want concrete measures."
She also pointed to the growing number of deaths in the Tuzla Canton, but the authorities are not asking why this is so.
Translated by: Tea IVANOVIĆ
(Original version: Hoćemo konkretne mjere!)