Friday, August 11, 2017

Is HEAL enough to help Serbia's concerning air quality

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            During World Asthma Day 2017 in Belgrade, Serbia's capital, The Health and Environmental Alliance (HEAL) called the Serbian government to invest effort to clean up the air in the country as part of the Unmask My City campaign. Due to Serbia's less then impressive efforts to clean up its air quality, it was no surprise then that the campaign won the support of the Serbian Health Ministry. On top of that experts at the Novi Sad university School of Medicine who are actively conducting a pilot project on exposure to suspended particles PM2.5 also pledged their support. This seems like the right step forward for Serbia because an alliance with HEAL might be exactly what they need. HEAL is a non-profit organization involved in researching the effect of the environment on the health of the population in the European Union. So far their environment adviser for the Balkans Vlatka Matkovic Puljic warned that the entire region must take actions to protect air health. She says that in Serbia alone more then 10,000 people have died of exposure to suspended particles and ozone. She suggests that the best way to start fixing Serbia's air health is to replacing coal with renewable energy sources, using railroads for freight transport and improving infrastructure. Since all of which requires political will, she hopes that Serbia's mortality rate due to pollution is at the level of 137.3 per 100.000 people which is significantly higher than the European average of 64.2 will be some incentive get the ball rolling. All this is still up in the air however since it is a new development that started only a few month ago. It is still too soon to tell if anything will change, so for now can just hope.
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