Accurate data for better air quality

Air quality in Montenegro is good, experts say. The problem, however, lies in regional differences and seasonal variation. While we are able to fill up our lungs with fresh air in spring and summer on the coast and in the north, the air becomes problematic as soon as the heating season starts. “In Podgorica we are beginning to see a slight trend of rising air pollution levels. Experts explain that this is because Podgorica has grown steadily over the last 10 years, resulting in an increase in the number of people, cars and buildings. It’s not possible to find a solution overnight, because just as pollution affects us and nature in the long run, so do we need to plan measures in the long run so as to reduce it,” says Olivera Kujundžić of the Ministry of Ecology, Spatial Planning and Urbanism in an interview with the EU Info Centre. Long-term plans to reduce pollution can only be made on the basis of clear and accurate air quality reports. These are prepared by the Centre for Ecotoxicological Testing (CETI), which monitors air quality at any time of the day using 10 automatic monitoring stations, which are deployed at pre-defined locations throughout Montenegro. These stations monitor the concentration of harmful substances in the air.
“All data is collected by a server, while CETI is required to monitor this information continuously, including outside working hours. In case of any problem or breaches of limit values, we inform the Environmental Protection Agency,“ CETI’s Radomir Žujović explains. Data is available in real time on the Environmental Protection Agency website. Here we can also see information on air quality in Podgorica’s Block 5 neighbourhood, where one of the monitoring stations is located. “Its task is to monitor air quality, as this can have a direct impact on human health. It’s called an urban background station. There’s a school and a kindergarten nearby, so this data is very important to both us and citizens,” says Gordana Đukanović of the Environmental Protection Agency.
“We got modern equipment, better time coverage, more parameters, and therefore more information on air quality. With this we have not only met the expectations of the EU, but we have also provided our citizens with better and more accessible information
The station in Block 5 is one of the three stations donated by the European Union within the project “Strengthening the capacities for air quality management in Montenegro”, worth over EUR 1 million. It has also replaced end-of-life equipment in the remaining seven stations. “We got modern equipment, better time coverage, more parameters, and therefore more information on air quality. With this we have not only met the expectations of the EU, but we have also provided our citizens with better and more accessible information,” explains Ms Đukanović. The previous situation on the ground was not in line with the needs and standards. Montenegro was not properly divided into regions, which is important for measuring air quality, while the monitoring equipment in the stations was outdated.
Following the installation of the equipment, the situation is much better now, as we have a quality and functional network. This project has contributed to improving air quality and has created the conditions for further management. Such projects will be needed in the future so that Montenegro could reach a level that is in line with EU standards
“Following the installation of the equipment, the situation is much better now, as we have a quality and functional network. This project has contributed to improving air quality and has created the conditions for further management. Such projects will be needed in the future so that Montenegro could reach a level that is in line with EU standards,” says Slađan Maslac of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro. Since 2007, the EU has invested around EUR 150 million in environmental protection in Montenegro, which is one of the most complex and most expensive chapters in accession negotiations.

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