Fires, dangers to forests
Each year during the summer season the increase of temperatures increases cases of fire in forests and herds. The situation in previous years has been aggravated due to thousand of hectars forests and herds that burned. On average every year around 2000-3000 hectars of forests burned. The causes mentioned are diverse starting with intentional fires from entrepreneurs ending with the lack of functioning of responsible structures in charge to monitor and keep the situation under control.
The same happened this year as well. Only during July, more than 10 cases of fires were evidenced. Translated in 36 hectars of forests and 26 hectars of herds. Compared to figures from previous years there is a visible improvement of the situation. A role in this has played the seriousness with which the situation has been dealt with on the side of the ministry, which has acticated its structures to fulfill the tasks and responsibilities well defined by law for the management of these situations. Several watchers and monitors are in disposal now from the Directory of Forest Services, the National Agency of Protected Areas, the State Inspectorate of Environment and Forests.
On July 10 it was the Minister himself that issued a Press Release connected to this case. Among others he pledged that: ‘’Every burned surface will not be alienated. It will be rehabilitated returned to identity’’. However, a case with precedent was the fire in the mountain of Shengjin on July 22. What was noticed was the lack of employees from the Forest Service, which is unjustifiable. It is precisely this institution that is in charge to manage such incidents. After this case all the positive comments of the Minister do not stand. Above all, let us not forget that we entered the fire season, therefore other cases might be expected. We hope the management of the situation in continuance will be as Minister Koka declared for the media and that similar incidents to the one in Shengjin mountain do nto repeat themselves.
Death from the air we breath
Tirana continues to be one of the most polluted cities in Europe. The index that shows pollution in European cities ranks Tirana as the fourth most polluted cities in Europe. This is a problem attached to Tirana upon arrival of democracy and according to Washington Post it is foreseen that Tirana will conitnue to loead the ranking until 2030. The latest measuring conducted by specialists of the World Health Organization show that pollution is 30% higher than the allowed norms by the European Union.
The Institute of Public Health in the framework of its functional duties has conducted a monitoring of air quality in Tirana. The conclusions were expectable. Therefore we have the tiny particles PM10 and PM2.5 that are considered the main pollutors of the air. These are dangerous particles because they reach the lower breathing canals and PM 2.5 can reach the blood vessels. In the main crossroads in Tirana the content of these particles is at 60% above the allowed norms and directives of the European Union. The main causes for this level of pollution are: old automobiles, car traffic, constructions that do not fulfill the criteria to avoid pollution and waste incineration.
The situation is familiar to every resident in Tirana but the question remains, what is the Ministry of Environment doing about this major problem? It is considered a problem because of the direct impact it has in health, because it shortens longevity, helps in avancing and deteriorating cardiovascular illnesses and increases the frequency of asthmatic symptoms for acute respiratory diseases among children.
In the legal aspect the Ministry of Enviornment has approved Law No. 162/2014 ‘’On protection of air quality in the environment’’ and Decision No. 594, dated 10.09.2014 ‘’On the approval of the National Strategy for Air Quality in the Environment’’.
But how are these laws implemented? Are measures beaing undertaken stemming from the National strategy for air quality? Mauybe beyond designing important policies, we need small scale initiatives to minimize as much as possible this risk? For instance decide on specific days when cars cannot pass in certain axis or incentivizing citizens to use bicycles by investing in the proper infrastructure. There are endless opportunities that do not carry a lot of costs, which can be used to minimize the danger we are facing.
One of the current problematics is waste incineration, which directly impacts air quality. The latest case is the incineration of waste in Qerret from the employees of Golem Commune. Responsible institutions did not take any measure for the case in hand even though we are dealing with a strictly forbidden act. We are yet again in the situation of having the perfect legislation but missing monitoring and control mechanisms for its implementation. Health specialists are warning that if urgent measures are not taken the expected loss in longevity in the capital will be 1-2 years per inhabitant. Therefore we ask the Ministry to take the necessary measures as it is its responsibility to ensure quality and duration of life for Albanian citizens.
Artikull: Temperaturat e larta, digjen mbi 10 ha pyje
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Artikull: Tirana, qyteti i 4-t më i ndotur
Ligji Nr. 162/2014 “Për mbrojtjen e cilësisë së ajrit në mjedis”
Vendim Nr. 594, datë 10.09.2014 “Për miratimin e Strategjisë Kombëtare për cilësinë e ajrit të mjedisit”
Video: Zonat turistike të kërcënuara nga djegia e mbetjeve urbane