Balkan schools close down due to air pollution

Balkan countries, especially Bosnia and Herzegovina, struggle with serious air pollution, leading schools to close down

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Schools are closing down because pollution in Balkans

While world leaders looking for new ways to fight climate change and environmental problems, Balkan countries, notably Bosnia and Herzegovina, struggle with serious air pollution.

Especially with the arrival of the winter time, the country’s capital Sarajevo has been covered with dust and fog.

Sarajevo officials said they are closing down schools, elementary and secondary schools on Thursday due to air pollution and heavy fog. Some volunteers have begun to distribute face masks to the public.

According to Martin Tais, an expert tasked by the UN to draft a Bosnian report on air quality and climate change, air pollution is one big problem in this Balkan region.

Bosnian people walk over the bridge during fog in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015. Local authorities in Sarajevo advise the residents to reduce movement in the mornings and evenings due to health risk of air pollution. [AP]

He argues that the all three major industrial cities of Bosnia – Sarajevo, Zenica and Tuzla – have all been badly affected by the pollution, with dust and sulfur dioxide readings high in the capital, reported the Anadolu Agency.

"This is the beginning of the Sarajevo winter... Although Zenica has the highest amount of sulfur dioxide and is the most polluted, Sarajevo catches up with it in dust. And Tuzla has also problems with its air," said Tais.

Bosnian man walks on the street during fog in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015. 

Local media have published Science Minister Elvir Kazazovic’s statements, stating that the basic reason they came to that decision was "too much pressure from parents and the public.”

"We are late with the initiative of the parents that lead the state to suspend schools," said Dr. Lutvo Sporisevic.

"We need to pay attention to people who are at risk: pre-school, school children, pregnant women, older people and patients with chronic diseases."

A group of school children walk on street with face mask in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. [AP]

“They should not go out until the smog leaves the city and if they have to leave the house, it is advisable to wear protective masks or scarves over the respiratory system,” he added.

TRTWorld and agencies