02 Feb 2018

Kosovars protest dangerous levels of air pollution

Hundreds of people gathered in the Kosovo capital of Pristina to protest against air pollution that have consistently reached alarm levels.

Claudia Ciobanu
Claudia Ciobanu NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Kosovars protest
 dangerous levels of air pollution - NewsMavens
A bulldozer pushes coal at a power plant. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

Better air quality monitoring and more public discussion about the dangers of smog mean that, in many Eastern European countries, people have started rebelling against inhaling dangerous micro-particles every winter.

It's now the turn of Kosovars to protest smog levels that sometimes exceed those in infamously polluted Chinese cities.

Sitting in Poland, where authorities still refuse to acknowledge the full set of causes of dangerous smog levels, it's refreshing to see in Kosovo identify the main culprits of air pollution: the two coal plants nearby the capital, which lack modern filters; burning of coal and wood in home ovens; and traffic. 

It's also encouraging to see a society with the youngest population in Europe take the issue of pollution seriously and engage in civic action to improve the situation.


Details from the story:

  • Kosovars have become more informed about smog levels after the United States Embassy installed air quality monitoring equipment and publicised the results.
  • The National Institute of Public Health reacted this week by confirming the smog levels were dangerous and suggested measures to address the problem.
  • Officials from the Ministry of Environment and Pristina municipality plan to close the main roads in the city center for private cars during the day, offer free public transport, and ban the sale and use of coal for heating in the capital.
  • Protesters also demanded improved standards at the two nearby coal plants: Kosovo A and Kosovo B.
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