As a result of the situation with the quality of air in recent days and the discussions that took place in the 121st meeting of the Government of Kosovo which was held on 21.12.2016, where possibilities of preventing air pollution and improving the quality of air were discussed, as well as the elaboration and approval a plan of measures to reduce pollution, with short-term, mid-term and long-term actions to be undertaken was requested.
Based on institutional and legal responsibilities, MESP has prepared a "Plan of measures for improving the quality of air and environment condition".
- Current situation of environment
The condition of air in Kosovo, particularly in the central part, has deteriorated during the last few days, when exceedances above the permitted norms have been recorded with pollutants PM10 and PM2.5, and only in December, 16 days of exceedances have been recorded.
This condition has mainly come as a consequence of the emission of air pollutants from industry, transport and due to the increase of emissions from the sector of households and small businesses during this season, including unfavorable weather conditions for the dispersion of pollution.
The pollution inherited from the past has greatly influenced the current condition, but also the social and economic situation in Kosovo.
The limited budget allocated to the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning (less than 1% of the Kosovo Budget), has also affected the limited opportunities for setting up an environment infrastructure, the development of this sector and the implementation of projects in improving the situation. This budget has marked a decrease over the last four years.
This situation has brought the need for comprehensive approach to this issue and placing these issues among the development priorities of the Government of Kosovo.
However, the problem of air pollution cannot be addressed as a separate from the general environment situation, therefore, the plan of measures also covers other environment sectors, and other relevant institutions which have specific responsibilities in the implementation of legislation and other sub-legal acts in the environment sector.
- Legal, program and institutional framework
MESP as a responsible authority for the air quality management has completed the legislation in this sector, based on the EU legislation and adapted to the country's socio-economic situation, which includes:
· The Law on the Protection of Air from Pollution, Law no. 03/L-160,
· Administrative Instruction (AI) on Emission Norms in the air by static sources,
· AI on controlling the emission of volatile organic compounds during disposal, dumping, filling and transportation of fuel,
· AI on the criteria for setting up monitoring points, number and frequency of measurements, classification of pollutants which are monitored, methodology of work and data reporting time,
· AI on the air quality norms,
· AI on the permitted norms of emissions in the air by movable pollution sources.
The Strategy on the Air Quality Strategy for the year 2013-2022 is part of the overall program for the protection of environment, which was approved by the Kosovo Assembly on 19.12.2013 no. 04/V-741.
This year, the Action Plan for Air Quality (APAQ) has been prepared.
Kosovo is a member of the Energy Community Treaty-ECT, thus has the obligation to prepare the National Plan for the Reduction of Emissions (NPRE), which has been forwarded to the ECT for approval.
- Actions undertaken until now in improving the current condition
With the aim of improving the current situation, MESP has until now undertaken the following actions:
· A Task Force has been established with an aim of coordinating and aligning the activities at the national level.
· Information of the general public on the quality of air on the daily basis has increased through media,
· Public awareness activities have increased regarding the protection from air pollution, through the preparation of respective guidelines,
· The level of coordination with other responsible institutions for air sector has increased resulting in a number of meetings and requests forwarded to the MED, MLGA, MTI and MI to implement the obligations deriving from the legislation on air.
· The cooperation and communication with civil society organizations, the municipality of Pristina and NIPH has increased.
· MESP through the Inspectorate has requested from Kosovo Energy Corporation to undertake all technical, professional and legal measures to reduce the emissions.
Despite the activities undertaken so far, in order to improve the existing situation, other additional measures are needed, which would increase the efficiency of the implementation of legislation and by-laws, the implementation of the Strategy and the Action Plan on air quality, increasing the level of cooperation and coordination of activities and developing technical and human capacities.
· Improvement of the quality of air and environment for the benefit of all citizens of Kosovo.
· Raising the level of implementation of legislation on environment.
· Reducing the number of illnesses as a consequence of environment pollution.
· Building technical and human capacities in the environment sector and the level of environment management.
· Strengthening the implementation of spatial and urban planning.
· Strengthening the quality control and the use of fuel.
· Increasing the number of green businesses.
· Fulfilling the conditions for SAA process.
- Plan of measures
- Short term measures
· To raise the issues of environment protection with a focus on air sector to the level of key priorities for the government of Kosovo.
· To increase the overall budget of MESP, particularly the budget for capital environment projects.
· To allocate financial means for the category of subsidies of MESP with an aim of supporting and promoting the activities/projects of NGOs and municipalities in the sector of environment protection.
· To review the decision of the Government of Kosovo on the import of vehicles.
· To implement immediately the Administrative Instruction on the permitted norms of discharges in the air by movable pollution sources.
· To increase the control of the quality of fuel which is imported and sold in Kosovo pursuant to the Law no. 2004/5 on the Trade of oil and oil derivatives in Kosovo, the Law no. 03/L-138 on amending and supplementing the Law no. 2004/5 on the Trade of oil and oil derivatives in Kosovo, and AI no. 07/2012 on the quality of liquid fuel.
· To inform the general public on the consequences of air pollution to health.
· To promote and subsidize public transport in the main centers of Kosovo, and particularly on the occasions of high air pollution.
· To increase the inspection of using fuel in households and businesses.
· To strengthen the Inspectorate at central and local levels through trainings, mobile measuring equipment and compensation for risk at work.
- Mid-term measures
· To broaden the network of co-generation in the city of Pristina and other centers of Kosovo, where it is feasible.
· To reorganize the public transport in the main centers of Kosovo and areas with high pollution.
· To finalize municipal development plans and zonal maps of Kosovo municipalities in accordance with the zones and specific agglomerates.
· To implement the law on the energy performance in buildings as a measure for saving energy.
· To establish an environment protection fund in order to utilize economic instruments for the implementation of projects related to the improvement of environment situation.
· To speed up the procedures for approval of the Action Plan on Air Quality and start the implementation of the projects foreseen by this plan as soon as possible.
· Municipalities should draft short-term action plans and include measures related to: the traffic of motor vehicles, heating in households, businesses and other services, in order to reduce the level of air pollution.
· To review the overall environment policies.
· All strategic documents at central and local levels should undergo the process strategic environment assessment.
· To build technical and human capacities in managing public green areas and national Parks.
· To raise the level of awareness and environment education through drefting specific programs.
- Long-term measures
· To implement the measures related to the Strategy on Air Quality.
· To preserve and maintain green spaces in urban areas and where possible to increase such areas and include them in zonal maps.
· To raise the level of urban planning in the municipalities and at the level of the country in preserving the green areas, agricultural lands and forests.
· To support the projects and activities aimed at promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency and increase the targets for solar and wind energy.
· To facilitate the procedures for erecting new energy capacities with advanced standards and technology and close down old facilities.
Financial support in implementing environment projects which derive from strategic documents of environment sector: the Strategy on Environment Protection, the Strategy on Wastes, the Strategy on Bio-diversity, the Strategy on Climate changes and action plans deriving from the strategy.