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Can Kosovo’s capital cut air pollution by 95%?

Electric scooters and bikes, major public transport investment, and subsidies to replace high polluting stoves and boilers are among the green ideas set out by Përparim Rama, the new mayor of Prishtina. 

Policymakers in Kosovo’s capital city have announced plans to try and cut air pollution by as much as 95%, targeting transportation, residential and industrial emissions sources. 

Prishtina’s new mayor Përparim Rama was only recently elected to power, winning votes primarily on promises to improve sustainable development and environmental protection, and is already clarifying his ambitions to clean up the region’s atmosphere.

Among the biggest concerns in the area are coal-fired power plants, inadequate stoves and boilers, and congested roads, all of which feature in the proposals.  Measures include green improvements to existing public transport infrastructure to reduce traffic, and the rollout of an electric scooter and bike network for residents. Authorities are in talks with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to procure buses, and introduce all-electric models on some routes. A fleet of 40 Tesla taxis is also now in operation. 

Elsewhere, the construction of new schools in underserved districts has been proposed to reduce the number of commutes. The district heating network will also double in capacity to 280MW over the next four years. Reliance on outdated stoves and other domestic appliances will also end if an agreement with the World Bank on a subsidy programme to pay for replacements can be reached. The global financial institution has already highlighted that people using wood and coal which has not been dried properly is significantly increasing air pollution in Prishtina. 

In related news, improvements to MOT tests for motor vehicles, and increasing shore power capacity at major ports have both recently been suggested as ways of reducing air pollution.

 

Image credit: Mario Heller

 

 

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