Air pollution in Montenegro: We are choking without panic

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According to the law, the number of days in a year in which the concentration of harmful airborne particles affecting pulmonary and cardiac diseases should not exceed the prescribed limit value of 35. According to civil sector activists, this number is shifted to more Montenegrin cities over the years. Only in Bijelo Polje it was exceeded to a great extent in the three months at the end of last year. State authorities keep quiet.

The region is largely concerned with the topic of polluted air earlier this year and for a reason. Belgrade is among the ten most polluted cities in the world these days, according to Air Visual, one of the world’s leading sites for collecting data on the concentration of harmful substances in urban areas. Pollution is a problem in other cities of Serbia as well. And not just Serbia. There is also Sarajevo. The Government of Sarajevo Canton in December last year, in an extraordinary session, declared an episode “warning” for all zones in the Sarajevo Canton, because all the conditions foreseen by the Plan of Emergency Measures in the Case of Excessive Air Pollution were met. In the ecological state of Montenegro, the authorities are silent, although official measurements show that the number of harmful particles (PM10) affecting pulmonary and heart diseases in the air in individual cities in this region does not lag behind either Belgrade or Sarajevo. The prescribed limit value is 50, while in Podgorica, Pljevlja, Bijelo Polje, this figure in recent months reaches over 300 and sometimes over 500 PM10 particles. And it’s not like that since yesterday.

Aleksandar Perovic from the Ozone NGO for Monitor says that only in Bijelo Polje that number was exceeded to a great extent in three months at the end of last year. “For the last three months of last year, the number of days with exceedances of the mean daily PM10 suspended particulate matter was 58, which is a very clear warning that a systematic approach and a concrete plan for dealing with this problem are needed.”

The local government of Bijelo Polje has formed a committee this week to address the issue of pollution and find solutions to eliminate its adverse impact on human health. The Commission was formed by the Mayor of Petar Smolović and is composed of representatives of local self-government, experts and the civil sector. The state authorities kept quiet about that too.

Preovic says there were 136 days in Pljevlja in 2019 with this type of overdraft, which is a week more than in 2018. “Niksic and Podgorica also have significantly more days with exceedances of the PM10 daily average than the maximum allowed, so it is indisputable that there is a need to place this issue at the top of decision makers’ priorities, as any prolongation, missed plans and institutional indecision cause new diseases and premature deaths caused by air pollution ”

According to Perovic, the current state of air quality in Montenegro is very worrying, and indicates that the competent institutions have done almost nothing to remedy the situation. “Apart from the poor stories and the missed strategies and plans, it is especially irritating that the public debate is mostly about interpreting invalid data publicly through the official application of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), rather than the (in) effectiveness of measures that have been proposed to mitigate air pollution or the impact of this life-long problem on human health. ”


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