Unlocking the potential of energy efficiency and renewable energy

Bringing Clean Air Where It's Needed Most

13/022018

Jana was born in 2015 in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the most polluted country in Europe in 2017, as stated by the World Health Organization.  However, Jana continues to live in Banja Luka, where the use of polluting heavy fuel oil as the main heating source is an everyday reality with harsh consequences.

Citizens of Banja Luka, like Jana, have had to learn to live with air quality levels which exceed the WHO-deemed safe levels for PM10, particulate matter that can enter the lungs, up to 98 times throughout the heating season.

Among its locals, Banja Luka is called the city of green, because of its numerous green alleyways and parks, where residents and visitors enjoy walking. Jana, together with other children, spends most of the sunny days outside playing without second guessing the air they freely breathe. The parents see little choice.

The effects of polluted air on the health of their children is alarming. The health experts across the globe warn of the negative impact air pollution has on people, especially children, whose bodies are less equipped to deal with it.

Indeed, poor air quality is responsible for 44,000 years of life lost each year in the country in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Air quality reports say that one of the largest sources of air pollution in Banja Luka is heating, including the heavy fuel oil used by the district heating plant and the pollution stemming from individual households that mainly use wood and coal to produce heat during winter months where temperatures can reach as low as -23ºC.

Based on the models UN Environment developed, the City has decided to opt for a public-private partnership to establish a new utility company and design 10 new biomass plants to power the City’s network. With the help of a EUR 17.8 million loan from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, the City has managed to invest in constructing the plants, which are being finalized this very moment. 

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