“Let’s Talk about Air”

The Embassy of Sweden in Sarajevo is organizing an event this Wednesday to raise awareness on the air pollution in Bosnia and to engage citizens, civil society, policy makers and the international community in a dialogue on sustainable solutions.

#letstalkaboutair event will be held on 24 January in the courtyard of the Swedish Embassy at Ferhadija 20. The Embassy has recently strengthened its cooperation with authorities and stakeholders in Bosnia to enable an enhanced protection of the environment, including addressing air pollution. The Swedish Environment Protection Agency, SEPA, is launching a long-term program with capacity building and investments to improve air quality assessment, monitoring and management in the country, in partnership with the government and authorities, including the two regional weather institutes in Bosnia. The project will be launched at a conference in Hotel Europe on January 24.

The Embassy furthermore partner with the Regional Environment Center BiH (REC) in support to environmental civil society organizations to enable increased participation in advocacy and decision making in the field of the environment, including air pollution.

“This should be a top priority for decision makers”

Swedish Ambassador Anders Hagelberg said: “Much more can be done to protect from and inform the population of BiH about air pollution and its consequences, in line with European standards. Joint concerted efforts are needed and we are therefore bringing together citizens, civil society, policy makers and the international community to discuss possible solutions to enable a more environmentally sustainable society. Ensuring clean air for citizens is an issue of human dignity and coming generations should have the right to live in a healthy environment. This should be a top priority for decision makers.”

Bosnians are exposed to some of the highest levels of air pollutants in Europe, causing a wide range of negative health consequences. Heart and lung disease, strokes, lung cancer and adverse effects on the immune system are more prevalent in areas affected by such emissions. Children, seniors and those living in poverty are particularly vulnerable.

In addition to negative health effects, air pollution has also devastating effects on the economy. The World Health Organization has found that Bosnia is losing 21.5% of its GDP annually because of heavy air pollution.

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