Bosnia and Herzegovina has the second highest mortality rate (per 100,000 population) from air pollution in the world, after North Korea

Young medical doctor Emir Durić stands in front of the primary school located beside to the coal power plant in Tuzla. – Igor Petrović / HEAL

The main sources of PM2.5 are the Tuzla Thermal Power Plant which burns over 3.3 million tons of coal annually. The Tuzla Thermal Power Plant is one of the ten largest polluters in Europe: it emits 51,644 tons of sulphur dioxide and 896 tons of PM2.5 annually, making it the largest source of PM2.5 in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Air pollution is an invisible killer in Tuzla. As doctors working for the health of the population, we need to address and work towards clean air in our community. I am especially worried about the health of our youngest ones, the children. – MD Emir Durić, University Clinical Center Tuzla

In addition to industry that harms the citizens’ health, old cars and domestic furnaces fueled by fossil fuels are also main contributors to air pollution in this region. As in many other cities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the streets of Tuzla and Lukavac are dominated by old exhausted diesel vehicles which worsen the quality of the air and are extremely harmful to health.

In 2012 alone, more than 3,500 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina died prematurely due to harmful effects of ambient air pollution on their health. Although the laws of Bosnia and Herzegovina set air quality standards for certain pollutants in the air, these laws are unfortunately poorly applied, meaning the air is often unhealthy.

City Stories

Prof Abdel Đozić, University of Tuzla, Faculty of Technology

It saddens me to see the industry that provides us with employment opportunities is also harming our health by contributing to air pollution. This pollution needs to stop in order to protect our health and save lives.

Maida Mulić PhD MD, director of Public Health Institute Tuzla

In Tuzla, as in many places in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the air that we breathe harms our health. This poor air quality causes heart and lung disease and brings immense suffering, especially for those who are already ill. We hope that other doctors, nurses, and health professionals in our country become active for cleaner air.

Denis Žiško, Center for Ecology and Energy

The amount of harmful pollution coming from these chimneys is out of control. We urgently need to take concrete actions to improve air quality in Tuzla, to protect people’s health and ensure that our children grow up in a healthy environment.

PhD MD Selma Azabagić, Head of department for hygiene and health ecology - Public Health Institute Tuzla

There is no scientific doubt that air pollution harms our health in many ways. I am especially concerned about the impacts of polluted air on the elderly and children. Protecting the health of the population should be the top priority of decision-makers.

MD Emir Durić, University Clinical Center Tuzla

Air pollution is an invisible killer in Tuzla. As doctors working for the health of the population, we need to address and work towards clean air in our community. I am especially worried about the health of our youngest ones, the children.

Goran Stojak, local community representative

Air pollution is affecting our community in irreversible ways, and we feel its impacts every day. Having monitored the pollution myself, I call on authorities to act and protect our health.

Srđan Kukolj, Health and Energy Adviser for the Balkan region - HEAL

My visit to Tuzla is memorable because of the strong sulphur smell everywhere in the city, which made it difficult for me to breathe and gave me pain in my lungs.

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Join activities for clean air in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Health and medical experts are becoming increasingly concerned about air pollution and the contribution of coal combustion to poor air quality. We have continuously spoken out about the enormous health risks of air quality. As health professionals, we are key in leading the evidence-based actions on clean air for better public health.

We invite health professionals, concerned patients or citizens to join the Unmask My City campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and become involved in policy deliberations for more health-protective air quality standards at national level.

We invite health professionals and local patient organisations to contact us and indicate how you can get actively engaged in the Clean Air debate.

I want to support clean air actions for better health.


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