Sarajevo Canton to ban coal use in 2021 amid extreme air pollution

Sarajevo Canton ban coal use extreme air pollution

Photo: Markus Winkler on Unsplash


November 30, 2020





November 30, 2020




As the heating season started and air pollution reached extreme levels again, Sarajevo is preparing a measure unheard of in the Western Balkan region – to ban the use of coal for heating.

As one of the first steps in the preparation of a strategy to reduce the use of solid fuels to reduce excessive air pollution, the Sarajevo Canton started to work on an action plan for its implementation. The local government decided to include a ban on the possession and use of coal in houses and multiapartment buildings as well as in structures run by companies and the public sector and infrastructure.

The ban should be rolled out on November 1 next year

“The action plan will clearly define who must do what and by when with regard to the moratorium on the use of solid fuels. It applies first and foremost on the ban on the possession and use of coal while some other measures will be introduced gradually, considering that it concerns a ten-year plan,” Minister of Spatial and Environmental Protection Faruk Kapidžić said. The official from the Sarajevo Canton revealed the ban would be rolled out on November 1 next year if all measures from the action plan are implemented.

Subsidies and the schedule for the obligations for the moratorium will be determined in the action plan

Subsidies and the schedule for the obligations for the moratorium will be determined in the document, according to the announcement. The government said legislation and regulations in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the canton must be changed to make the move.

The said strategy is being produced for the period from 2021 to 2031. The canton, which includes the capital city of Sarajevo, is an administrative unit within the Federation of BiH, which together with the Republic of Srpska makes up Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Air pollution was dangerous for the people

The Government of the Sarajevo Canton has just declared a warning with regard to air pollution, implying a second out of three levels of emergency measures. Namely, the daily reading of PM10 dust in the air exceeded 150 micrograms per cubic meter and the weather conditions aren’t expected to change until December 6.

Daily readings of PM10 have reached 286 micrograms per cubic meter

According to an application developed by Eko Akcija, daily PM10 concentrations were 182 micrograms on November 26, 282 one day later, and 286 on November 28. The overall air quality index hit 303 on November 27 and 323 the following day, which means air pollution was dangerous for the people. The daily values decreased in the meantime, but the air quality index today rose above 150 points at several measuring stations in hourly readings, which means the air in Sarajevo was unhealthy.

Eko Akcija is one of the most active environmentalist organisations in BiH. Founded in 2009, it is specialized in air quality monitoring.

Public gatherings in the open are forbidden

In addition to the measures applied when the local authority declares caution, the first level, manufacturing facilities that were placed on a special list must cut working hours by at least 20%. All heating units above 50kW that use fossil fuels are obligated to reduce the temperature in the structures that they serve by a minimum of three degrees Celsius.

The use of heavy vehicles is limited

The use of heavy vehicles is limited and diesel-fueled cars with Euro 2 standard and lower are banned, with the exception of the units for public services.

Large-scale construction work outside and indoors must stop and public gatherings in the open are forbidden. Public institutions need to adjust working hours so that traffic can be reduced.

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