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Conference Pollution- Fight for the clean air happened on its own as a need to provide answers on the origins of the air pollution in Serbia.

The conference will be held at the Radisson Mill Hotel in Belgrade on April 17 and 18, this year.

Pollution was clearly visible in the air, and we coughed, sniffled, could not breathe, our eyes burnt. There was no reaction from the officials at the beginning and then, as the problem could not be hidden any more, they began to persuade us that the situation is not serious; finally when the public got alarmed the government convened and pointed to the pollution caused by the citizens who heat themselves, burn fields, drive cars, while completely avoiding polluters from the energy sector and heavy industry, specifically coal burning power plants, Smederevo steel mill, copper smelting complex in Bor and others.

The conference should provide answers as to what are the causes of the air pollution, how is it measured, who controls air pollution, which measures are taken and what are the  consequences for citizens, economy and the society as a whole, in short, mid and long term. 

Participants at the conference will be all stakeholders: citizens, businesses, government, civil sector, international organizations from the region and from the EU.

The conference should propose short term and long term measures and activities to be undertaken by the citizens, businesses and government that would result in permanent reduction of air pollution.

In order to raise awareness on the first day of the conference we will declare the Month of the Fight for Clean Air with participation of musicians, artists, athletes, event organizers and 2020 will be declared a Year of the Fight for Clean Air.

Conference Format: panels, lectures, workshops, exhibitions.

The Conference will be held at the end of March or in April, in Belgrade, with the precise date and location to be confirmed. 

The proposed topics are tentative, and you are invited to contact us if you think you can contribute to the program, or other aspects of the conference organization.

Topics:

Pollution and traffic

Automobiles and other vehicles are among the main contributors to air pollution. Emission of toxic substances ranging from carbon oxides, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, to other harmful pollutants that are products of burning low quality fuels in lower standard motors is a serious source of pollution in Serbia. The topic of traffic as one of the main contributors to air pollution in Serbia will be discussed so as to raise awareness and propose possible solutions for decreasing this kind of pollution. 

Pollution and industry

 One of the main sources of air pollution is  industrial pollution. Electric filter technology that has been developed in order to significantly curb emission of pollutants from industrial facilities has not been adopted in Serbia to a satisfactory level Majority of industrial facilities has no filtering systems for collection of particulate matter and harmful substances. All the pollutants are released into the air thus seriously increasing the pollution levels.

Pollution and agriculture

Land cultivation and absence of adequate equipment and machinery, especially for removal of wheat straw and other crop residue, leads to field burning which is a major source of pollution Even though this is prohibited and punishable by law in Serbia, the laws are not enforced and the farmers are repeatedly using this dangerous and harmful method to clear their fields. Furthermore, harmful fuel is regularly used for a variety of tools and machines used in agriculture, adding to the air pollution problem. 

Pollution and power plants

Winter time pollution is in major part caused by micro particles and other harmful substances such as sulfur dioxide emitted by the coal fired power plants. A major failing of coal fired power plants in Serbia is an absence of any filtering process in the exhaust systems.

Pollution and household heating 

Lack of central heating in Serbia is another cause for elevated pollution levels in winter time. Individual heating furnaces that use wood, coal or heating oil primarily pollute the local environments of these households and communities.

Microparticles PM2.5 and 10 and sulfuric acid

Air pollution occurs when harmful substances including gases and particulates are introduced into atmosphere. Extremely high levels of pollution in Serbia are caused by highly increased presence of mucroparticles PM2.5 and PM10 as well as sulfur dioxide which can be transformed into sulfuric acid. The danger for human health, and the mechanism of their formation and effects will be elaborated by eminent and high profile experts in this area. 

Pollution and health 

Air pollution primarily affects human respiratory system and can lead to permanent damage and  lethal conditions. It has been repeatedly proven  that air pollution also has harmful effects on our cardiovascular system, mental health and it also increases frequency and exacerbates severity of allergies. Conference topic  ‘Pollution and health’ will be elaborated and discussed by relevant medical professionals, specialists for pulmonary, cardiovascular and allergy specialists.

Pollution and meteorology and climate changes 

Dramatic climatic changes that are happening in Serbia are closely interrelated with the problem of air pollution.  High CO2 emission leads to severe and unpredictable weather patterns that in return create various meteorological phenomena that further increases local pollution, especially in the cities. This interplay will be examined and discussed in the Pollution – Fight for the Clean Air conference session dedicated to meteorology and climate changes. 

Pollution and tourism

Pollution in Serbia negatively affects all areas of business and economy, with tourism being one of the most severely and immediately affected sectors. Tourism in Serbia has had significant growth in recent years; it created lots of new jobs and had notable spillover effects on other sectors and industries, while at the same time helping Serbia improve its image internationally. Reversing this trend would have very serious effects on country’s economy and prosperity.

Valuing life and pollution

How much does pollution interest us and how do we value life.

Pollution and media

Pollution is a topic of high public interest that has to be taken seriously, explained and understood by the widest audience. Various media need to support the fight for clean air by reporting on the conference topics and conclusions and informing their readers and viewers and raising awareness on the causes and harmful effects of pollution, as well as potential actions that the citizens, communities, businesses and civil sector organizations can take to fight it.

Pollution and social media

Conference Pollution  – Fight for the clean air will be accompanied by a wide social media campaign to alarm and raise awareness of  broadest public about this highly important issue. 

Pollution and celebrities and public figures

Celebrity and public life personalities endorsements and support will make an important contribution to the successful Fight for the Clean Air and will have a vast amplification effect.

Pollution and NGOs

There is more than 150 registered civil sector organizations that are involved in environmental issues. As partners in the organization of the Conference they will offer vital contribution not just to the discussion and formulation of the conclusions and recommendations, but even more importantly to keeping the topic if pollution in the focus and involving numerous and various stakeholders in the Fight for the Clean Air, making sure that the recommendations are  continuously implemented and fully realized. 

Pollution and the state institutions

The Conference will discuss current and future activities aimed at decreasing pollution undertaken by government institutions  in Serbia, with proposals for improving strategies monitoring mechanisms and action plans based on relevant international initiatives, success stories and best practices.

Circular economy solving pollution

All aspects of circular economy and positive experiences from the world.

Pollution and regulation

The conference  will discuss and provide directions with respect to the key question: which regulation needs to be drafted and adopted, and which institutional reforms, especially related to inspection and control mechanisms need to be carried out in order to be able to open the Chapter 27 of the EU negotiations, and how to subsequently secure the implementation and compliance with the EU framework in this area. 

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