Among all other problems and issues, uncertainties and concerns, a new ‘killer’ is threating Albania, a silent killer. This is how pollution is called because the very air we breathe, the water we drink and the food that we eat are all affected by pollution. Albanians cannot be isolated from the effects of a polluted environment.

Yes, even though Albanian citizens are aware of that, statistics from World Economic Forum ranks Albania in the very top 5 countries that are most at risk from pollution.

According to World Economic Forum Albania has a more polluted air than China and Bosnia and Herzegovina as the Forum concluded that the Balkan region has the most polluted air in the world.

The list is referred to 2012 data from Global Health Observatory of World Health Organization. According to the statistics Albania’s mortality rate attributed to household and ambient air pollution per 100 000 population is 171.4, so approximately about 5,000 Albanian citizens per year are at high risk.

This Forum has listed 10 countries that are most at risk from pollution with Serbia in the tenth position with 137.2 deaths per 100 000 population following up by Romania, Ukraine, Sierra Leone, China, Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Korea and the first place Georgia with 292.3 deaths.

44% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the energy sector, the World economic Forum specifies for the case of Albania.

As UNECE reports, air pollution, municipal solid waste management and access to clean water and improved sanitation remain the most pressing challenges for Albania.

According to the 2014 report from the Environment National Agency, several European countries suffer pollution exceeding the EU regulatory limit value of 50 µg/m³ (daily mean). In Tirana, this value was exceeded in 102 days of a year and that is in only one area of four monitored.

Even though Albania’s contribution to the global greenhouse gas emissions is about four to five times lower than average international levels, with an estimated average of 9,4 million ton/year of CO2, this impressive data will be short-lived if it will not be backed up by strong policies, experts say.

According to the latest data, provided by the Ministry of Environment for, energy and transportation followed by agriculture and waste sector are the main categories that are found to have significant contribution to the total greenhouse gas emissions for Albania; each with a respective share of energy-transports (57.29%), followed by agriculture (16.85%), land use and forestry (8.88 %) and waste (2.31%). As seen by the data, the biggest contribution is energy-transport.

If Albania will follow through to the pledge on climate change, this is the sector with the greatest focus. With the dramatic increase in the number of cars, and the number of old vehicles in use, traffic in urban areas is now a major cause of air pollution.

Albania, through the parliament, ratified on July 13, 2016 the Paris Agreement on climate change as 87 MP’s voted pro, respecting the momentum and importance of this historic and ambitious agreement.

Huge Climate News from the US and China

China and the United States, the two biggest emitters of the carbon pollution that has brought global warming to a crisis point, formally ratified the Paris climate agreement on Saturday. Their move propels the ambitious global pact toward its entry into force by the end of this year.

The two nations that together make up about 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions – have become the first major economies to formally accept the Paris Agreement.    Paris agreement will enter into force thirty days after at least 55 countries, representing at least 55% of global emissions, ratify it.

Taken together, China (20.9%) and the United States (17.89%) account for nearly 40% of global emissions. Together with Russia, India account for nearly 55%. There’s still more work to be done, as both countries now have to translate their nationally determined commitments in the agreement into action, including legislation and regulation. But the announcement is a big deal – and a big step forward for the planet.

Reduce your own carbon footprint

There are lots of simple ways to reduce your own carbon footprint, and most of them will save you money. You can plug leaks in your home insulation to save power, install a smart thermostat, switch to more efficient light bulbs, turn off the lights in any room where you are not using them, drive fewer miles by consolidating trips or taking public transit, waste less food, and eat less meat.

The polluted air contains countless particles such as dirt, smoke, pollen and more particles that pollute the air and are fine in size which makes them more dangerous since they can be easily inhaled to accumulate in the respiratory system which causes many chronic diseases that are difficult and may be impossible to be cured which finally leads to certain death.

In 1998, Albania signed Aarhus Convention, an international legal document defining a set of rules, rights and obligations in the area of environment. However, it was not until 2000, when the document was ratified by the Parliament, the efforts have finally begun to create and improve the existing environmental legislation. This convention also establishes the framework for the right of the citizens to appeal to court for environmental issues and concerns.

So rather than waiting for the government to act, Albanians have all the possibility to better use the power gave by the law. It’s time to act faster than the ‘silent killer’. /