Serbia has prepared its first draft air protection program, covering the period 2022-2030, together with an action plan for addressing air pollution.
In the past few years, air pollution has become a major issue in environmental protection in Serbia. Citizens, environmental activists, and non-governmental organizations have been urging the government, so far without success, to take concrete action to reduce air pollution. With the start of the heating season, Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, again became one of the most polluted cities in the world when it comes to air quality.
A public debate on the document will be launched soon
The Ministry of Environmental Protection has announced that the draft Programme of Air Protection of the Republic of Serbia with Action Plan defines air quality goals and measures for their achievement. It said it also provides a basis for the adoption of bylaws and implementation of the European Union’s legislation in air protection.
A few days ago, the ministry held the third conference within the public consultation process and invited all interested parties to send proposals and recommendations for the draft. It said it would organize a public debate after supplementing the document with the proposals.
Of note, the draft was prepared within an EU’s IPA 2014 environmental project in Serbia.
Three air protection scenarios have been developed
To tackle air pollution, several local authorities have prepared or started preparing air protection plans. On January 30, 2020, the Government of Serbia adopted the National Emissions Reduction Plan (NERP), the draft notes.
However, resolving the issue requires additional activities, and Serbia has prepared for the first time an air protection program with an action plan for its implementation, the document reads.
Three air protection scenarios have been developed to prepare ways to reduce emissions and assess various mitigation options.
The action plan determines the activities for implementing measures and the achievement of the goals set by the draft. It is prepared for a five-year period through 2026.
HEAL: the first document in the region to recognize the effects of air pollution on health
According to the Alliance for Health and the Environment (HEAL), it is the first strategic document in the Western Balkans that recognizes the effects of air pollution on health.
HEAL expressed belief the air protection program would produce changes for the benefit of citizens and the environment.
The organization underlined that several steps remain until the adoption of the program by the Government of Serbia.
HEAL has called on the interested parties to make additional efforts and submit comments to the ministry over the next two weeks.