Civic activism: locals protest construction of cement factory

Today, Saturday at 12:00, the citizens of the municipality of Klina have organized a nationwide protest against the planned construction of a cement factory. During this protest there were also matches between Kosovo police officers and demonstrators who with their participation did not allow business actors to be enabled to start building the factory.

The following is the letter addressed to the German Ambassador where local citizens address the issue in question:

Dear representatives of the German state
Dear Your Excellency Mr. Ambassador

Respecting the contribution that the friendly German state has made for the construction of our state these 22 years, we, the inhabitants of the municipality of Klina, gathered as everywhere in your country for the causes of nature conservation and the environment where they live, we are expressing a concern for “inclusion” of your state on a topic that has recently become a concern for the inhabitants of the town of Klina and the Dukagjini plain. Initiatives for unsustainable development of companies which for profit purposes cause damage to the environments where people live (these damages contaminate water, land and air) are actions for narrow business interests, in the Western Balkans it has become a phenomenon. This evil has also happened in our municipality where the newly formed company “Wallingford International-Kosovo L.L.C” tries to build a cement factory in our municipality. Active citizenship, assessing with the utmost seriousness the development of this industry in a country with extreme proximity to the city and the surrounding villages has reacted harshly by using legal and scientific components to reject this ominous project. Documents held today by the economic operator are suspicious by violating the procedures during the provision of documentation for which are provided by applicable laws (public hearing, petition of 5000 inhabitants, environmental assessment, non-compliance with the decision of the municipal assembly which annulled any decision for the construction of cement factories in our municipality).
The curvature of the name of a prestigious German company such as “ThysenKrupp” for the purpose of covering the evils that have occurred for these 2 years has worried us immensely. Our interest in receiving information from this company has resulted that this company is not an investor but as if every consumer in the world can buy equipment that he needs for the needs of factories.
Last night 13/05/2022 a day before the popular protest called to oppose the construction of this factory, the portal Indeksonline harshly attacked the organizing group of the protest and made a low slander using the name of the company in question that allegedly the German investor with a worth 200 million euros will invest in this factory, this is a pure lie for which we as a group are preparing for a lawsuit in the court of Kosovo.
Honorable Ambassador, asking for an official explanation of the German state regarding this untruth, enable us to make a public statement about this misinformation.
With respect to the group “On the rejection of the cement factory in Klina”
Klina, 14/05/2022

Millions of ecological tax on cars do not go to the environment

The capital of Kosovo has several times been in the top five capitals with the most polluted air in the world.

In addition to significant problems with waste management, pollution of rivers, green spaces and forests, Kosovo continues to have problems with air pollution.

Official data show that Prishtina and Obiliq are the two settlements that usually have the most polluted air in Kosovo.

For the first time in our country, air quality monitoring started in 2009, with the establishment of an automatic monitoring system in Prishtina, while currently the national air quality measurement network has 12 fixed stations and a mobile.

The causes of air pollution are many, but polluted air translated into scientific elements contains particulate matter such as PM10, PM2.5, nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), arsenic ( As), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg).

The biggest cause of sulfur dioxide in the air in Kosovo is considered to be the industrial sector; of nitrogen oxides are industry and transportation; of particulate matter like PM10 and PM2.5 are small burns.

Cars are also major air pollutants. Especially old cars.

In Kosovo, for example, in 2018 there were 24 thousand 202 cars of the type ‘Golf 2’, which was first put into circulation in the distant year, 1984.

This figure accounted for 10% of total vehicles registered in Kosovo.

This figure in 2019 was halved, falling to 12 thousand 952 such vehicles.

“Ecological tax should be translated into environmental investments”

Since 2012, the Law on Road and Ecological Vehicle Tax has entered into force in Kosovo.

Each vehicle registered in Kosovo, is obliged to pay an ecological tax, which according to the Law, vehicles under 3.5 tons must pay 10 euros, while those over 3.5 tons pay 30 euros.

Tractors and light agricultural vehicles are exempt from tax.

According to the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, in Kosovo during 2021 were registered 21 thousand 748 vehicles over 3.5 tons and calculating the tax of 30 euros for this type of vehicle, it falls that the state of Kosovo has collected annually an average of 652 thousand 440 euro from ecological tax for vehicles over 3.5 tons.

While, also according to KAS, during 2021 in Kosovo are registered 42 thousand 730 vehicles under 3.5 tons, calculating the tax of 10 euros, the state has collected annually an average of 427 thousand 300 euros from this category.

In total for vehicles under and over 3.5 tons, Kosovo from the ecological tax during 2021 has collected 1 million 79 thousand euros.

Environmentalist Nora Simitçiu says that the citizens of Kosovo continue to pay the ecological tax every year, according to the Law, but that the amount which is accumulated from this tax, it is still unknown where it is specifically dedicated.

She says that another paradoxical thing about this tax is that the law obliges the owners of hybrid cars to pay ecological tax.

“Instead of owners of vehicles that do not emit or emit low levels of pollutant gases being supported by state policies, they are instead forced to pay the same tax as a car which causes high pollution, which is quite discouraging. . So in addition to specifying where and how this accumulated budget is intended at the same time, this law should also be reviewed.

This tax, Simitçiu says, should start investing in environmental projects such as waste recycling; creation of wastewater treatment plants; creation of green spaces and biodiversity recovery.

“Not only the issue of catalysts but the whole process of recycling various wastes should begin to receive priority from the Government of Kosovo.”

“Our state must take into account the practices of other countries which have already solved this problem by first creating the necessary legislation which prohibits the sale of catalysts for scrap and prohibits their processing by inadequate persons”, she emphasizes.
PHOTO – KALLXO.com – Car releasing gases in Prishtina

Why are cars harmful to the environment?

Cars are considered the biggest air pollutants in an urban location. The smoke emitted from cars and then ends up in the air, contains particulate matter dangerous to health.

But in addition to smoke, cars are harmful to the environment and human health in another aspect. Through catalysts or as it is otherwise known the catalytic converter.

The catalyst in the car serves to clean the exhaust gases and consequently to reduce harmful emissions into the environment. Usually a catalyst has a service life in a car of about 4 to 5 years.

The catalyst, in itself, contains some precious metals and this pushes people to do their collection, to get the precious metals. The rest of the catalyst is thrown away in an uncontrolled manner.

Catalysts have a chemical content similar to that of asbestos, and are therefore considered a major hazard to humans, animals and the environment in general.

Nora Simitçiu is an ecologist by profession. She is also an environmental activist in the non-governmental organization ‘Ec ma Ndryshe’.

She says catalysts have recently been classified in the group of very hazardous wastes, as they contain refractory ceramic fibers, which are considered carcinogenic to humans.

“Due to this high level of risk, most developed countries in the world have specifically regulated by law the issue of catalysts. “As an ecologist, I think it is important for Kosovo to fix this issue as soon as possible, since such legal gaps give space to metal sellers or incompetent companies to process these catalysts, endangering health and the environment.”

The state of Kosovo specifically does not have a Law on Catalysts, but within the Law on Waste, vehicles treat waste and their components.

Article 38 of this Law also categorizes special wastes, which according to the Law, do not pose a risk to the environment and human health. Discarded vehicles and their waste are also included in this categorization.

While Article 48 of this Law talks about waste vehicle management.

This article states that persons managing waste vehicles must be licensed.

“Collection, dismantling and treatment of waste vehicles is done in centers for collection and treatment of this waste. “Persons who manage waste vehicles keep records and records on the amount of waste collected and treated, as well as the separation of materials and components hazardous to the environment and human health,” said in points 2 and 3 of the Law on Waste.

The fine, according to the Law on Waste, for companies that manage waste for vehicles without obtaining a license, ranges from 5 thousand to 50 thousand euros.

The Ministry of Environment does not have accurate data on licensed companies

The Ministry of Environment has not indicated exactly how many companies in Kosovo are licensed to treat waste vehicles, including catalysts. In a written response to KALLXO.com, they say there are several, without indicating the exact number.

“In Kosovo, there are several private companies that deal with the collection, collection and physical treatment of metal waste, including waste vehicles and their components.”

But the Ministry of Environment does not know exactly what happens to the catalysts, as they are removed from the vehicles. A short written response of the Ministry, says that mainly car waste is exported abroad.

“This waste is mainly exported abroad. The Ministry has drafted the primary and secondary legislation for waste, which is the Administrative Instruction for waste vehicles and their components “, it is said in the response of the Ministry.

On the other hand, Kosovo Customs has not provided data on how many catalysts have been exported from Kosovo in the last three years. They have provided data only for import.

These data show that Kosovo in 2019 imported 72 kilograms of catalysts; in 2020, 40 kilograms and in 2021 this figure has increased to 123 kilograms of catalysts.

Since the Ministry does not have accurate data on what happens to the catalysts, when they are removed from the cars, Nora Simitçiu from the non-governmental organization ‘Ec ma Ndryshe’, says that the state of Kosovo should address this issue with high priority.

She points out the fact that catalysts themselves contain precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium, which Simitçiu says can be very profitable and that the idea of ​​benefiting from this recycling process, can push many individuals who without prevent catalysts from processing, resulting in environmental contamination.

“Developed countries have already banned the resale of catalysts to scrap dealers and this can only be done by companies that are licensed by the competent authorities to perform the catalyst recycling service. The Republic of Kosovo can take into account the practices developed by these countries in the treatment of this waste and in cooperation with environmental experts to create adequate solutions “, emphasizes ecology Simitçiu.

Kosovo Environmental Protection Agency (KEPA), in the Municipal Waste Management Report for 2020, says that municipalities in Kosovo have not been able to provide quality data regarding waste recycling activity.

“During the processing of report data we have seen that we can not provide an approximate figure of the amount of waste that is recycled in municipalities,” said the report. KALLXO.com reports regarding the use of plastic bags.

The project “Using the media to raise awareness about the main causes of air pollution in Kosovo” is part of the “Dig Data Challenge” supported by the Millennium Foundation Kosovo (MFK) and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), as part of Dig Data Challenge for air quality data. The project is implemented by Internews Kosova.

Premature deaths due to pollution: The Balkans in the worst situation

Air pollution in the Western Balkans causes a large number of premature deaths and the consequences include shorter life expectancy and deteriorating public health – therefore improving health systems requires urgent improvement of air quality and public health.
This was stated by the European Fund for the Balkans during the implementation of this month of the third phase of the campaign “United Balkans for Clean Air” with partners from the region.

The purpose of this phase of the campaign is to inform citizens about the consequences of pollution in terms of mortality and health in the Western Balkans and to invite them to join the fight to improve air quality and extend our lives.

According to the latest data from the European Environment Agency, poor air quality in the region causes more than 30,000 premature deaths, and the EU Joint Research Center highlights the fact that air pollution on average contributes to reducing life expectancy by 0.4 and 1.3. years in the countries of the Western Balkans.

Studies also show that coal-fired power plants in the Western Balkans alone account for economic damage ranging between 1.2 billion and 3.4 billion euros a year in healthcare costs.

The requirements of the “United Balkans for Clean Air” campaign are as follows:

Defining air pollution reduction as a national, regional and international priority and integrating it into all planning processes.
Increase budget funds for pollution control and establish systems for monitoring pollution and its effects on health.
Multi-sectoral partnerships need to be built at local, national and regional levels to improve pollutant control and improve air quality.
Prevention of non-communicable diseases resulting from poor air quality must be integrated between environmental and health policy priorities.

“To help prolong life, join the struggle of the citizens of the Western Balkans based on solidarity and become part of the ‘United Balkans for a Clean Air’ campaign,” the statement said.

The campaign “United Balkans for Clean Air” was initiated by the European Fund for the Balkans in partnership with the following organizations: Eco Forum from Zenica, Institute of Environmental Territory Management from Tirana, Sbunker, truAktiv and Balkan Green Foundation from Prishtina, Air Care from Skopje, OZON from Podgorica, the Renewable Energy and Environment Regulatory Institute and the Belgrade Open School from Belgrade.

The campaign is being conducted for the second year in a row, aiming to raise awareness of the citizens of the region about the causes and consequences of pollution, possible ways to improve air quality and the fight for a healthier environment.

The “United Balkans for Clean Air” emphasizes the need for regional co-operation to transform the energy industry and environmental protection system, which would improve both the economy and public health.

The National Audit Office has started auditing performance in the field of energy and environment

The National Audit Office of Kosovo has started the performance audit in the field of energy and environment with the topic “Licensing system of hydropower plants and their impact on the environment and water (2015 – 2021)”. Addressing this audit topic is of particular importance as the use of water for electricity generation must be done in the right way without affecting the quality and flow of water.

Various media reports and initial research in the planning phase in this area show that there are indications that the hydropower licensing process is characterized by shortcomings and lack of transparency. There are also indications for lack of coordination between the responsible parties during the licensing process, lack of proper supervision by the responsible institutions that consequently the environment may be endangered by this activity. The impact that this activity has on the environment and the initial indicators of problems in this area have served the NAO to start this audit.

The objective of this audit is to evaluate the issuance of licenses for hydropower plants and the activities of public institutions for environmental protection from the activity of hydropower plants. The main purpose of this audit is to contribute to the improvement of the licensing process and to ensure that water use is done more efficiently and effectively achieving the intended purpose and to ensure the protection of water and the environment.

The Energy Regulatory Office will be subject to the audit process; Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure; The Ministry of Economy as well as the municipalities of Dragash, Mitrovica, Deçan and the municipality of ërtrpce. Also, the Kosovo Forest Agency and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports may be subject to audit, depending on whether they are related to the audited field. Within these institutions, the focus of the audit will be the permitting departments and the departments of the inspectorate related to the impact on the environment and water. The scope will focus on the issuance of licenses for hydropower plants during the years 2015-2020 and their impact on the environment and water.

The main goal of building hydropower plants in Kosovo is to reach the 25% target in line with the agreement of the established EU Directive 2019/32 / EC for the production of renewable energy by 2020, reducing the impact on the environment and water. In Kosovo during the years 2015-2020, about 20 small hydropower plants were built which offer a production capacity of about 86 MW. Hydropower plants should be built in concession with public institutions, equipped and implement the rules and criteria of environmental permits in order to protect water and the environment and ensure the quality of water supply and their flow.

The activities of each institution responsible for the construction of hydropower plants and their operation in order to generate electricity must be carried out in accordance with the principles of compliance, economy, efficiency and effectiveness. Also provide transparency and equal treatment for economic operators who aim to use water for energy production.

The NAO is committed to addressing relevant and important topics for the Assembly of Kosovo and its citizens by providing useful recommendations for protecting the environment and strengthening the rule of law in Kosovo.

A criminal report is submitted for the degradation of the waterfall and Mirusha park

NGO Active Citizens has filed a criminal report regarding the degradation of the Natural Monument “Waterfalls and Mirusha Park” declared as a special area, related to the project: Cleaning the environment and repairing the pedestrian and bicycle lane with lighting and recreation from the regional road Klina -Jakova to Mirusha Waterfall, reports Ekonomia Online.

Flutura Zymi from this organization said that the officials involved of the Municipality of Klina and the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning, Infrastructure MESP, with their actions and omissions have committed criminal offenses of degradation or destruction of the environment according to Article 338 of the Criminal Code of Kosovo. illegal permitting of installations that pollute the environment article 340, abuse of trust article 330 as well as abuse of official position or authority sanctioned by article 414 of the Criminal Code.

“The project initiated by the Municipality of Klina on 19.07.2019 is not foreseen in the spatial plan of Mirusha, there was no public debate or decision by the Assembly of Kosovo or the Municipal Assembly, then on 31.07.2019 MESP authorizes the project with the start and implementation of procurement procedures, in the amount of 384 00 euros without environmental permit, without construction permit, without environmental impact assessment without environmental report and without the recommendations of the Kosovo Institute for Nature Protection and at the same time the project has no eligibility assessment for ecological network which is mandatory according to the Law on Nature Protection ”.

According to her, the project in question has degraded zones 1 and 2 which is a strict zone, they have intervened in the existing path in a width of 2 meters by degrading it to 10 to 15 meters for 2.3 km, an intervention which has affected the characteristics and values ​​for which Mirusha has been declared a Natural Monument according to Article 14 of the Law on Nature Protection, reports EO.

Swedish Ambassador to Kosovo Karin Hernmarck: Polluted air has serious health consequences

Air quality is vital for the health of the citizens of Kosovo

The Swedish Embassy in Kosovo has launched the third consecutive campaign ‘Talking about the air’ in cooperation with the green journalism platform ‘BB Green Kosova’.

“Let’s talk about the air”, is a campaign organized by the Swedish Embassy in Kosovo, with the creator and creator of the digital campaign launched in 2019, Ambassador Karin Hernmarck.

The campaign will be extended in the media and digital aspect, through social networks, in which case, this year, the aim of the campaign was to bring closer to the citizens, but also to the politicians themselves, through the stories of journalists, interviews and daily reports. the importance of air quality, but also the consequences of its pollution.

We need to talk about the air, its pollution, which is caused every day by power plants, especially during the winter, here in Kosovo, and in general, from fuels or other pollutants.

The campaign started on December 1 and will continue until February 28, 2022, and during these days, every week will be published interviews of different profiles showing what damage is constantly caused by polluted air in terms of health and environment. .

The peculiarity of the third edition is that, in addition to the inclusion of green journalists from Kosovo in this campaign, the journalist Lennart Berggren from Sweden will also report, who will focus on Swedish heating and insulation techniques. So, in addition to talking about the situation, during the campaign will come some Swedish solutions, in this regard.

Demolition of the asbestos tiled building by the NBP

The Ministry of Environment published the results of the analyzes carried out in Germany.

Asbestos demolition of the buildings in the Lakrishtë neighborhood of Prishtina by the Public Housing Enterprise belongs to the 3rd degree (20%), waste carcinogens with a very high risk of contamination.

The Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure has published the result made in a laboratory in Germany. 10.2021, we sent the Asbestos material to the Laboratory of Germany, in which case the microscopic examination of the scanning of the Asbestos sample according to the instruction “VDI 3866 and CRB REM PA” was done, it is said in the announcement.

Air quality in Kosovo in the global air quality report

According to the IQAir World Air Quality Report 2019, which collected and compared air quality data from over 4000 global cities, Kosovo is ranked as the 3️⃣0️⃣ most polluted region worldwide in an included list of 98 countries and regions.

You can meet the dinosaur Dino at the Kosovo government

Today at 17:00 at the building of the government of Kosovo is done the projection of the silhouette of the dinosaur in the continuation of the campaign ‘Do not Choose to Exterminate’.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Kosovo together with the Office of the Prime Minister will design a dinosaur silhouette in the Government building to mark the closing of the COP26 global climate summit and promote the global climate change campaign entitled Do Not Exterminate .

UNDP Resident Representative Maria Suokko together with Ulrika Richardson UN Development Coordinator, representatives of the diplomatic community and representatives from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Presidency, the MP, the Ministry will be present for the projection of Dino on the walls of building.

The aim of the one-year global campaign is to raise awareness of the urgency to move away from using fossil fuels and switching to cleaner energy, and one of its key features is the character of Frankie the Dino (Frenkie Dinosaur), who, on behalf of its species, sends a message that we must act now – before the threat of humanity’s extinction becomes a reality.

The event will also be attended by Dino, who worked in Kosovo for conversation and photography with the participants./BB Green Kosova

EU Kosovo report 2021, findings on environment and climate change

Kosovo is at an early stage of preparation on environment and climate change. Progress Limited was achieved during the reporting period, notably on environmental reporting and air quality monitoring. In order to be aligned with the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans goals, Kosovo needs to increa se its political commitment to address environmental degradation and climate change challenges. All recommendations from the previous report are still pending. In the coming year, Kosovo should in particular:

  • establish an effective water monitoring system, publish data and undertake urgent and permanent measures to reduce air and water pollution;
  • continue to increase the waste collection coverage, notably with the introduction of separation of waste and recycling, introduce circular economy measures to reduce waste and address effectively the issue of illegal dumpsites;
  • enforce legal provisions on environmental liability, damage and crime; implement the polluter pays principle and create and start a permanent campaign for raising public awareness on envi ronmental protection;
  • implement the climate change strategy and the action plan on climate change, prepare a roadmap for alignment with the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans and climate acquis , adopt a National E nergy and Climate Plan, in line with the Energy Community requirements and start drafting the long term decarbonisation strategy.