New BreatheLife member Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is familiar with air quality challenges.
The canton of 420,000 residents is nestled in a valley in the Dinaric Alps, whose many mountain ranges pose a challenge to atmospheric pollution dispersion, at times trapping pollutants such as particulate matter from wood smoke and vehicles.
Heavy traffic, poor spatial planning, natural factors and, in winter months, the use of domestic stoves and fireplaces followed by specific climate conditions with temperature inversions all contribute air pollutants to an airborne cocktail that brings some activities to a standstill and results in citizens breaching safe air quality limits about 60 to 90 days a year.
But the Canton of Sarajevo is tackling air pollution through a series of measures under its Environmental Protection Plan and its Action Plan for the reduction of airborne particulate matter emissions.
These are supported by a broad range of legislative decisions (in Bosnian) that safeguard the Sarajevo’s environmental public health.
The Canton’s actions focus on transport emissions, energy efficiency measures and improving waste management.
Sarajevo’s actions against emissions from traffic include:
• Introducing soot-free buses, trucks and passenger vehicles (Euro VI, electric, hybrid, LPG/CNG or other)
• Reconstructing tram and trolleybus infrastructure
• Establishing a Traffic Control and Regulation Center
• Renewing public transport
• Introducing automatic traffic management
• Developing its Road Transport Development Strategy
Sarajevo also prioritizes energy efficiencies in households, housing and public buildings, continuously implementing relevant projects in the housing and public sectors that contribute to the improvement of air quality. Public sector efficiency projects are implemented in cooperation with the UN Development Programme and according to the Action Plan.
In terms of waste management, the Canton is working to prevent the impact of the Smiljevići landfill on air quality.
To measure the effectiveness of these and other measures, and to regularly inform citizens of air quality in their city, the Canton is working with UN Environment and the Global Environment Facility to install or refurbish monitoring stations. These will provide robust data that is accessible online, in real time. The Cantonal government publishes monitoring data here.
BreatheLife welcomes Sarajevo on its clean air journey.
Read their press release here (in Bosnian): Kanton Sarajevo postao dio BreatheLife globalne kampanje za čist zrak.
Read the related UN Environment feature: Coming up for clean air in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Follow Sarajevo’s journey here.