SMHI develop systems for air quality in Bosnia and Herzegovina

SMHI is working in a new SIDA project to build up a system for managing air quality measurements in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The system is based on the Swedish data hosting system within air quality. Bosnia and Herzegovina faces a major problem with air pollution, and is according to the WHO one of Europe’s most polluted countries.

During the next three years, SMHI will develop a data hosting system for air quality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The system includes, among other things, a central database for air measurements and tools for making data available to the public and reporting data to the EU. SMHI has long experience with international air quality work and since 2016. SMHI runs the Swedish data hosting system for air quality, which the Bosnian system will be based on.

– With a nationally cohesive data hosting system, conditions are created for efficient data collection and publication of measurement data from different parties. This increases transparency to the public and simplifies for researchers and modeling studies, says Heléne Alpfjord Wylde, project manager at SMHI for both the Swedish and Bosnian data host.

The large SIDA project, which focuses on air quality, is investing in both short and long-term solutions to improve air quality in the country. It also focuses on getting certain functions in place to be able to meet EU requirements, as reporting requirements and in the long term an accredited laboratory for measuring equipment. With a budget of € 3.8 million, the project will prepare Bosnia and Herzegovina for an entry in the EU. Hopefully, the work will also give the country health benefits, since Bosnia and Herzegovina today, according to the World Health Organization WHO, loses 21.5 percent of GDP on health and economy linked to the country's air quality.

One of Europe’s most polluted countries

According to the World Health Organization, WHO, Bosnia and Herzegovina faces a major problem with air pollution. According to the WHO study, there are in Bosnia and Herzegovina 79.8 premature deaths due to poor air quality per 100 000 population. In Sweden, the corresponding figure is 7.2 premature deaths per 100 000 population.

During the winter in Sarajevo, the particle levels are so high that it is difficult to see the surrounding mountain ranges. Small-scale wood and coal burning is a major source. Photo: Heléne Alpfjord Wylde

Great interest in the project

At the end of last year, several SMHI employees attended the kickoff meeting for the project in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There they met Bosnia and Herzegovina's environment minister and the directors of the country’s two counterparts to SMHI. The Swedish ambassador in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been a driving force in initiating the SIDA project.

– The Swedish Embassy appreciates our work and thinks it’s great that SMHI participates in the project. The kickoff meeting made us feel welcome and it is clear that the Bosnians themselves are very interested in improving the country's air quality, both politically and technically, says Fredrik Windmark, who leads SMHI’s participation in the project together with Heléne Alpfjord Wylde.

In the spring of 2019, a first work trip is planned for Sarajevo and Banja Luka, where employees from the SMHI air group and IT department will participate.