Partner NGO in Slovakia: CEPTA
In Slovakia we (CEPTA – Centre for Sustainable Alternatives) run the campaign since 2010. In first period we started oriented ourselves in the topic as we did only few activities in air quality until that time. We analyzed the situation in Slovakia, looked for strategic partners, choosing the best strategy how to effectively make the progress, etc.
We found out that probably the most effective way will be to connect the topic of black carbon with the topic of particulate mater PM, which is one of top issue in EU air quality protection policy and which is of the serious problem also in Slovakia as we are in the process of infringement for exceeding the EU limits for PM10. Black carbon (BC) is a part of PM, a very important part before all in cities. In urban areas it comes mostly from diesel transportation, non-road machinery, burning processes as in industry as in home wood/coal heating etc. Therefore we focus our campaign on several main issues:
- Transportation, promoting sustainable, low BC mobility, which is focusing mostly on regulation of individual cars eliminating old diesel cars, implementing good parking management, promotion of public transportation with priority in electric driven means, reduction of heavy transportation from city centers and residential areas, creating conditions for development of alternative, non-CO2 mobility means like cycling, in-lines, pedestrian etc. All this measures could be included in Low Emission Zones (LEZ) approach which we working on, creating legal conditions enabling adoption of such zone in Slovakia.
- Advocacy work at national level – we succeed to bring the Ministry for Environmental protection of Slovakia to sit down with all involved partners, ministries and to prepare the National strategy for PM10 reduction, in which we enforced many of our good proposals. The strategy was not approved only because of lack of time – our government braked down before time, just after 2 years of governance and we had in March 2012 early elections. Of course, we will looking for continuation of these activities, adoption of good strategy in the year 2012, 2013 with a new government, which is first time built just from one political party (Social democrats - SMER). Before early elections we organized the national ENVIRO-Questionaire 2012, which brought positions of different political parties also to air quality questions to the public, to the electorate.
- At the national level we are active in air quality monitoring discussion, as we think that official data on PM/air quality and mainly on PM source appointment based on modeling are often not representative and not accurate and make a big problems to force & adopt any effective measures reducing BC, PM in practice (e.g. saying that most of PM pollution come from abroad). Therefore we initiated and will initiate (inter)national meetings with experts and competent officers with open discussions about the situation and looking for future solutions. With the national monitoring institution we applied for common EU project focused also on optimalization of the monitoring as well as modeling technique and technology for PM pollution.
- Cooperation at communal level. We contacted several big Slovak cities – regional capitals (like Bratislava, Nitra, Prešov, Banská Bystrica), which have problems with PM and air quality. We started bilateral communication, with personal visit and consultation the situation with competent persons, committees. The best results until now we achieved in our 4th biggest city based in middle Slovakia – B.Bystrica. The city adopted very ambitious program for air quality and PM reduction, and already in the year 2012 started with concrete steps created a new, better conditions for bicycle mobility in the city, which was at very low level until now. We participated and co-organized different street actions promoting clean air in city measures, like Earth Days in spring or Car Free Day in autumn, involving young people.
- In communal sector we have a strategy to „be helpful for open - active cities, to be strict for closed - passive cities“ in which the last step of action will be the legal action against the city passivity, if does not help any other way of forcing the change. This process is a bit complicated in Slovakia (because of not clear responsibility between county/region and city over the transportation) and need better preparation, but we are in the process preparing necessary arguments for successful process. As well in 2011 we organized two big international conferences focused on PM10 reduction with a good participation of media and cities representatives. We plan to organize similar international conference focus and promote a good LEZ implementation in cities, it takes place in Bratislava, on 20-21st November 2012.
- Finally I would mention a small burning units, which make a serious problems with air pollution, black carbon emissions before all in cities during winter season. After prices of gas and electricity rise up significantly (in 2009/2010) people and small businesses started use more and more alternative heat/energy sources – before all wood and coal. This approach without new technologies cause serious problems with air pollution as well as PM10 exceeding of EU limits.
CEPTA – Centre for Sustainable Alternatives, civic association
960 01 Zvolen