Sarajevo draws up strategy to cut household heating emissions by 90%

sarajevo canton coal air strategy

Photo: Government of Sarajevo Canton


February 12, 2024


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February 12, 2024


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The Government of the Sarajevo Canton has prepared a 10-year strategy to reduce the use of coal and other solid fuels, which should help cut emissions from household heating, identified as the main source of air pollution, by as much as 90%.

The drafting of the strategy to reduce the use of coal and other solid fuels in Sarajevo, one of the most polluted cities not only in the region, but also the world, was announced in mid-2020.

Recently, Sarajevo ranked 54th on the list of cities with the most polluted air in the world, published by IQAir. In Southeast Europe, the only cities with higher air pollution levels were Sofia (47th place), Istanbul (41st), and Skopje (33rd). In recent years, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina has launched a string of projects aimed at reducing air pollution.

Now the cantonal government has adopted a proposal of a strategy for limiting the use of coal and other solid fuels for the period 2023-2033 and sent it to the assembly for approval.

Bošnjak: The air in Sarajevo will meet European standards

The implementation of the strategy is expected to reduce emissions from household heating, the main source of air pollution in winter, by 90% in the next ten years, the government said.

Combined with the measures planned for transportation and industry, this should bring the air quality in Sarajevo into line with European standards, according to Bojan Bošnjak, the cantonal minister for communal economy, infrastructure, spatial planning, construction and environmental protection.

20,000 homes are expected to implement energy efficiency measures and switch to cleaner energy sources

The plan is to subsidize energy efficiency measures and switching to cleaner energy sources in around 20,000 homes in the Sarajevo Canton, out of 43,000 that are heated with solid fuels, he said, adding that a census of such households has already been completed.

The measures will also include revitalizing the chimney sweep sector in order to monitor emissions from household heating. It is also necessary to adopt a new regulation that would introduce the certification of low-emission boilers and stoves, pass other missing regulations, and improve urban planning and air quality planning, the government said.

Implementing the strategy will cost EUR 195 million

The implementation of the strategy will cost about BAM 380 million (EUR 194.4 million), which should be secured from the budget and other domestic and international sources, according to the statement. Apart from the cantonal government, the subsidy scheme will involve homeowners, as well as municipalities.

The Sarajevo Canton is expected to receive a loan from the World Bank soon for the implementation of the air quality improvement project, including about BAM 23 million (about EUR 11.8 million) for launching the implementation of the strategy.

The document was drafted by CETEOR and E3

Minister Bošnjak believes the implementation of the strategy will create jobs in the construction sector and the production of boilers and stoves. It should also boost the number of chimney sweeps, which, given the number of fireplaces in the canton, should be around 350, compared to just 20 currently.

The strategy was prepared by the ministry, in cooperation with UNDP in BiH and with financial assistance from the Government of Sweden. The drafting of the document was carried out by CETEOR and E3.

The ministry has said the strategy will soon be made public.

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