Corruption is already among the most used words in the lives of citizens. There is no TV debate, Facebook status, newspaper articles or portals, where the word corruption is not mentioned.
Moreover, any failure in different spheres – in health, education, economics, etc., is attributed to the word ‘corruption’. Hundreds of television conferences and debates have been held, technological applications and platforms have been developed, projects signed, millions of euros spent and hundreds of trainings were held – but corruption remains one of the main symptoms of any kind of governance, whether at the local or central level.
Of course, it could not be different for the International and Short Film Festival “DokuFest”, where the main theme of the festival for this year was: corruption.
After a while, we will return to corruption, another form of corruption.
Science for Change Kosovo Movement – which started as an experimental project in 2014 for the purpose of research and monitoring of air pollution in Kosovo – is an environmental movement of young people working in three areas: non-formal environmental education with children and young people; air pollution monitoring and research, and mobilizing campaigns and direct actions on air pollution in Kosovo.
Since the air, along with other natural resources, is a ‘common good’, the Science for Change Movement, together with the organization Peer Educators Network – PEN, is intended to work on ‘democratizing the air’ and breaking the silence of the relevant institutions on air pollution.
And since young people are the ones who are most affected by the influence of corruption, they are the ones who take the lead in the Science for Change Movement, where through direct democracy practices and general assemblies, the activists of the Movement and PEN decide on further actions.
Let us now come back to the next form of corruption: that of the air.
The Science for Change Movement and the organization Peer Educators Network – PEN within the project “Making Sense” have started the research and monitoring of air pollution in Kosovo, including 16 different municipalities.
In the first week of August, activists of the Science for Change Movement and PEN were present at the International and Short Film Festival “DokuFest”, respectively as part of the Doku: Tech conference workshops.
In the absence of official data, which is strangely unpublished by local or central institutions, and given the large number of visitors to the Festival, activists of the Movement during the two days they were present in Prizren received air pollution data of PM2.5 (micro-particles having a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers).
These particles are among the major causes of various diseases, including lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.
Air quality measurements have been made using technological equipments (called “Airbeams”), calibrated in advance in cooperation with the US Embassy in Kosovo, so that the gathered results are as accurate as possible.
Surprisingly, the results from Prizren show high levels of PM2.5 pollution.
The World Health Organization recommends that the average PM2.5 micrograms for 24 hours should not be higher than 25ug / m3 (micrograms per cubic meter). Meanwhile, as seen from our published data (click here to see the map: http://bit.ly/SfCKprizren), the level of PM2.5 pollution is four times higher than the limit of the World Health Organization .
Of course, this high and unhealthy contamination poses a risk to Dokufest visitors and citizens of Prizren. It should be noted that these measurements are initial, as part of the wider work of the Movement throughout Kosovo.
Since measurements are made for a short period of time, it can not be concluded that high levels of PM2.5 micrograms are high at all times and consistently. Thus, a more systematic work will be undertaken over the coming months in order to also understand the causes of pollution, such as: intense traffic, the inability of air circulation as a result of urban changes, pollution from different businesses etc.
The impact of air pollution on the health of citizens, especially in children, is alarming. This is evidenced by a number of reports published by various international organizations. Therefore, the work of the Science for Change Movement and the organization Peer Educators Network – PEN within the project “Making Sense” in the research of air pollution in Kosovo will continue systematically so that citizens are informed in a transparent and continuous manner on air quality and the consequences of air pollution.
And this try of the Science for Change Movement and PEN to break down the silence of the institutions and to fight their ineffectiveness in informing citizens about air pollution (for example, relevant institutions, such as the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning or the Kosovo Environmental Protection Agency, do not transparently publish air pollution data, even if you submit a formal request) is at the same time an attempt to “corroborate” the air and democratize it.