Clean Air for Ukraine is a joint project of Arnika and an informal network of local non-governmental organizations from the industrial regions of Kryvbas and Donbas in Ukraine. Our objective is to improve access to information and strengthen public participation in decision-making. A public monitoring network of air pollution, analysis of soil, river sediments, and foodstuffs in five regions, and a capacity building programme for the civil society are some of our main achievements. We bring the transformation experience of the Czech Republic, involve scientists and experts in public campaigns, publish analyses, and suggest solutions.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 92% of the world’s population breathes air polluted beyond the acceptable limits. Moreover, Ukraine, as no exception, had (on the basis of the ranking from September 2017) the most deaths (out of 120 countries) attributed to atmospheric air pollution per 100,000 people. Another study, from the European Society of Cardiology, published in 2019 showed that the Ukrainian excess death rate per 100,000 members of the population is over 200 each year, which means that approximately 83,960 inhabitants per year die from air pollution. High levels of atmospheric air pollution have also been observed not only in typically industrial regions, but also in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, which often ends up ranked as the world’s most polluted city in the Air Quality Ranking. For decades, the government has ignored the overall state of the environment. As a result, more than four million people are breathing extremely polluted air. The main source of this pollution is metallurgical and coal power plants which still use outdated technologies. Emission permits for the factories are issued on the basis of outdated Soviet-era legislation, and accurate information on the real levels of air pollution is not accessible to the public. The state environmental inspection is ineffective, as is the enforceability of the law in general.
The Clean Air Project seeks to unite citizens and civic initiatives in industrial cities affected by air pollution and helps to strengthen the public campaigns to achieve improvements.
In Ukraine, there is no functional governmental air monitoring. Several cities run their own systems, but their design is often inadequate and the data is usually inaccessible to the public. That is why we invented Oxygen – EcoCity stations – a new generation of public air monitoring stations – and began to measure air pollution thanks to a network of activists and volunteers. If air pollution concerns you as well, you can join us!
Arnika (Prague), established in 2001, is uniting people seeking a better environment. We believe that natural wealth is not only a gift, but also an obligation to save it for the future. Since its foundation, Arnika has become one of the most important environmental organizations in the Czech Republic. We base our activities on three pillars: engaging the public, professional arguments, and communication. Since the beginning, we have been leading public campaigns both in the Czech Republic and internationally. The organization focuses on nature conservation, toxics and waste, access to information, and public participation in decision-making.
Eco City (Ivano-Frankivsk) – a team of technical experts on civic air quality monitoring in Ukraine. We manufacture monitoring stations available to the public and coordinate a web-resource for all Ukrainian to inform the public about the level of air pollution and its quality in individual towns. We actively involve students and young people in our activities based on social entrepreneurship. Together with Arnika, we have developed Oxygen, Air Fresh Max, and Sapphire – a new generation of air monitoring stations that measure the concentrations of six pollutants.