As part of U.S. Embassy Sarajevo’s efforts to raise public awareness about the problem of air pollution and air quality in BiH, Deputy Chief of Mission Ellen Germain hosted a lunch with Sarajevo Canton Prime Minister Edin Forto and visiting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientist Dr. Gayle Hagler. Dr. Hagler presented a summary of the air monitoring research project the EPA conducted in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, which began with the installation of air monitoring equipment at the embassy in May 2018.
DCM Germain applauded the Sarajevo Cantonal government for their acknowledgement of the serious issue of air pollution in the city and their efforts to improve air quality. She also presented recommendations from the Air Quality Coordination Group – a group led by the U.S. Embassy with members from the international community and civil society – for improvements to Sarajevo Canton’s emergency measures for air pollution. These recommendations include: 1) lowering the air pollutant concentration level at which emergency measures are activated; 2) activating the emergency measures automatically rather than calling a meeting of the relevant ministries to discuss implementation; and 3) improving communication with the public regarding high levels of air pollution when it reaches alert and alarm levels. The group also discussed specific recommendations from the EU in Brussels to improve the emergency measures.
DCM Germain, on behalf of the Air Quality Coordination Group, expressed a willingness to support the Sarajevo Cantonal government and to use the group to provide a forum for coordination and communication regarding air quality in BiH.