UNICEF works to address the world's largest single environmental health risk: air pollution
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Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia and Herzegovina) continued to face a major problem with air pollution, and according to available data, the capital Sarajevo ranks 12th among European cities in terms of pollution level. More than 100,000 children live in Bosnia and Herzegovina's most polluted cities (Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zenica, Lukavac and Kakanj).
Outdoor and household air pollution is one of the leading global risk factors for a wide range of health, economic and environmental issues. Southeastern European countries, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular, suffer some the highest rate of air contamination throughout Europe. According to new WHO statistics, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Albania and Ukraine have the highest European mortality rates attributed to air pollution. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, 44,000 years of life are lost each year due to particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide or ozone pollution, according the European Environment Agency (EEA).
A lack of regular and reliable data, unclear government accountabilities at different levels and a lack of funding for addressing air pollution are some of the most important challenges to improving air quality.
UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina is part of the UN AIR group, which is developing actions to address the effects of air pollution, in particular on children, pregnant women and the elderly, through a joint UN approach and in coordination with other international actors such as the United States, the EU and Switzerland. UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina together with other UN agencies organized and participated in the ‘Clean Air for All’ conference, which included a presentation by the UNICEF Regional Office on the impact on children’s health.