Pollution is one of the great existential challenges of the Anthropocene Era and threatens the survival of human societies. Toxic air, water, soils, and workplaces cost 6% of global GDP. The deaths attributed to pollution are triple those from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Air pollution alone kills 4.5 million people every year. What can we do to reduce industrial air pollution in European cities? How can citizens enforce their right to live in a healthy environment?
Term: 19 - 21 November 2018
Conference venue: University of Ostrava, Aula OU, Českobratrská 16, Ostrava, Czech Republic
Conference languages: English and Russian (simultaneous interpretation between these two languages provided)
Press-briefing will be held on the very first day of the conference on Monday, November 19 at 12:30
At this unique conference, business, governmental, and regional representatives will discuss a possible solution with scientists, environmentalists and activists from various European countries. In total, twenty air pollution related panels will be presented during the three-days event, not leaving out the standpoints of heavy industry.
The list of lecturers includes:
Maksym Borodin – activist and member of the city council of Mariupol, Ukraine;
MUDr. Radim Šrám, DrSc. from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic;
Kateřina Šebestová – deputy mayor of the City of Ostrava;
Tomáš Mosler – ArcelorMittal's air quality controler;
Pippa Gallop from the CEE Bankwatch Network;
…and many more. See the full list of panelists here.
The issue of polluted air in Europe will be discussed deeply with expectation of crafting a general declaration agreed on by all participants.
Visiting or attending the conference is free of charge.
Organizators do not cover any accomodation or travel expenses for attendees.
The conference is organized by NGOs Arnika (Prague/CZ) and Ecoaction (Kiev/UA) under the auspices of the vice-governor of the Moravian-Silesian Region and the deputy mayor of the city of Ostrava, in cooperation with Ostrava University and thanks to financial support from the Transition Promotion Programme of the Czech Republic, Global Greengrants Fund, Moravian-Silesian Region, and the City of Ostrava.
Monday 19 November 2018
Welcome words and introduction (9:00 - 9:30)
Morning session (9:30 - 12:10): Industry, people and the environment
|Radim Šrám, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Czech Academy of Sciences||Impact of air pollution on human health|
|Petr Jančík, Head of the Department of the Protection of the Environment and Industry of the Technical University of Ostrava||Technical and technological possibilities to reduce pollution from the steelworks – the story of Ostrava|
|Jindřich Petrlík, Arnika||Top ten largest polluters: Access to information as a tool in campaigns for clean air|
Press briefing (12:30 - 13:30)
|Lunch (13:30 - 14:30)|
Afternoon session (14:30 - 17:00): Regulation of air pollution in the Czech Republic
Matěj Mrlina, Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic
|Legal, technical and personnel capacities of the government to fight air pollution|
Jan Kolář, Head of IPPC and EIA Department of CENIA, Czech Environmental Information Agency
|Implementation of the EU Industrial Emissions Directive in the Czech Republic|
Blanka Krejčí, Head of the Air Quality Department, Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, Ostrava regional office
|The national air quality monitoring network in the Czech Republic|
Welcome drink (17:00 - 18:00)
Joint dinner (18.00 - 20:00)
Tuesday 20 November 2018
Morning session (9:00 - 13:30): International experience
Introduction: Kateřina Krejčová, coordinator of international projects of Arnika (The Czech Republic)
|ITALY - Mariano Alterio, environmental lawyer, Peacelink (Taranto)||Environmental disaster of ILVA-Taranto and violation of human rights|
|POLAND - Rafał Psik, Zagłębiowski Smog Alert (Sosnowiec)||
Fighting against low-stack and industrial pollution in small and medium-sized Polish cities
|KAZAKHSTAN - Dmitriy Kalmykov, Ecomuseum (Karaganda)||The city where black snow falls|
|ARMENIA - Oleg Durganyan, SOS Without Borders (Alaverdi)||Smoke over the valley of UNESCO monasteries, employment and tourism|
|BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - Samir Lemeš, Eko forum (Zenica)||Rusting promises - always in the future tense|
|Lunch (13:30 - 14:30)|
Afternoon session (14:30 - 17:30): Closed workshop - International finance / for registered participants only
|Pippa Gallop, CEE Bankwatch Network||Experiences with tackling European public financing for ArcelorMittal (part 1)|
|Pippa Gallop, CEE Bankwatch Network||Experiences with tackling European public financing for ArcelorMittal (part 2)|
Closing session (17:30 - 19:00): Discussion “What can we do together?”
Wednesday 21 November 2018
|Introduction: Martin Skalský, chair of Arnika Association|
Morning session (9:00 - 12:00): Air pollution in Ukraine
|Introduction: Tamara Kharchilava, Ecoaction (Ukraine)|
|DNIPRO - Maxim Soroka||Monitoring and control of air pollution in Ukraine|
|KHARKIV - Elena Reshetko||Citizens campaign and tracking the health risks|
KRYVYI RIH - Anna Ambrosova
|Cooperation with ArcelorMittal in a working group|
|ZAPORIZHIA - Iryna Pirogova||Involvement of experts in a public campaign|
|MARIUPOL - Maxim Borodin||Activism and local politics|
|Lunch (12:30 - 13:30)|
Afternoon session (13:30 - 16:00): Air pollution in Ostrava
Nikola Carić and Nela Římanová, director and the coordinator of the Clean Sky Association
|Clean Skies - participating in Ostrava´s air pollution solutions|
|Petra Andrášik, lawyer of Frank Bold||Legal tools for fighting air pollution in the EU|
|Tomáš Mosler, head of air protection, ArcelorMittal Ostrava||Efforts of a steelmaker to minimize its environmental footprint|
Closing session (16:30 - 18:30): Adoption of the declaration of the conference
Thursday 22 November 2018
Morning (9:30 - 11:00): Excursion to the Třinecké železárny Steelworks / for registered participants only
|Radim Klimša, corporate ecologist of the Třinecké železárny Steelworks||Progress of Třinecké železárny in environmental protection|
|Excursion to blast furnaces and oxygen-converter steel smelter with presentation of new technologies for dedusting|
Participation in the conference is free of charge. ● Participants are only kindly asked to pay for meals, refreshments, and accommodation. We will send you a detailed calculation of the prices after you complete your registration, according to the number of the days you plan to attend. ● The number of places is limited.
Please, be aware that the agenda might change before the conference begins.
Registered participants will receive updated agenda.
Here, you can find a chronological list of all presentations to the Ostrava conference with a brief abstracts to each of them.
Impact of air pollution on human health
Monday, November 19th | MUDr. Radim Šrám, DrSc. | Czech Academy of Sciences
Air pollution in the Northern Bohemia was from the 70’s one of the most polluted region in Europe, until scientific research helped to improve the situation, which significantly decreased the cardiovascular mortality. Nowadays, the most air polluted region in the Czech Republic is the Northern Moravia Region (NMR), leading to another study in 2013-2014. Scientists focused on the impact to pregnancy outcomes in the districts of Karvina (NMR) and Ceske Budejovice (Southern Bohemia, control, CB) observing the disturbance of metabolic pathways for immunity and CNS development as well as increased cases of toddler morbidity in Karvina. Even in 2017, the EU standards were exceeded in the Czech Republic (for 62 % of population) which will affect the health status of the Czech population already in next decades.
Technical and technological possibilities to reduce pollution from the steelworks – the story of Ostrava
Monday, November 19th | doc. Ing. Petr Jančík, Ph.D. | Technical University of Ostrava
Top ten largest polluters: Access to information as a tool in campaigns for clean air
Monday, November 19th | RNDr. Jindřich Petrlík | Arnika
Legal, technical and personnel capacities of the government to fight air pollution
Monday, November 19th | Mgr. Matěj Mrlina | Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic
What is the legislative framework of government's effort for healthier air conditions? The presentation mainly focuses on the legislation that deals with air protection, briefly mentioning international sources, European legislation and national regulations. Legal instruments in air protection can also be divided into groups. As such they will be introduced, especially the permissible levels and legal obligations together with conceptual, administrative, economic and special tools, all concluded with the technical part – the network of monitoring stations in the Czech Republic and their operation.
Implementation of the EU Industrial Emissions Directive in the Czech Republic
Monday, November 19th | Mgr. Jan Kolář | Czech Environmental Information Agency (CENIA)
Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) has been implemented into the national legislation of the Czech Republic in February 2013. The key principles of integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) has been set already in March 2002 by implementing the former IPPC Directive. Integrated permitting started in the Czech Republic in January 2003 with some specific issues of the IPPC process, including the role of CENIA, Czech Environmental Information Agency in this process. The new IED brought a different approach to the best available techniques (BAT) by setting the emission levels associated with the best available techniques in the BAT Conclusions.
The national air quality monitoring network in the Czech Republic
Monday, November 19th | Mgr. Blanka Krejčí | Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ)
Data provided by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ) together with further analytical information and services helps increase the quality of life in the Czech Republic through various controls, analyses and monitoring systems. The contributory organization set up by the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic is involved in the drafting of national legislation concerning ambient air quality and participated in the preparation and revision of programs for air quality management and reduction of emissions. The panel will cover number of topics - history, experience, legislative requirements, regional or cross-border cooperation as well as present polluters and hotspots in the Czech Republic.
Environmental disaster of ILVA-Taranto and violation of human rights
Tuesday, November 20th | Mariano Alterio | Peacelink
ILVA-Taranto is the largest steel plant in Europe and produces a enormous amounts of pollution harmful to human health and to environment. The italian judiciary has repeatedly ordered the seizure of the plants. The Italian state has issued about 10 laws to save the company and to continue production. ILVA violates the right to life, the right to health and the right to live in a healthy environment of hundreds of thousands of citizens. The ILVA case can called “occupational blackmail”: condemn themselves, their children and the entire territory, in which they were born, to die of pollution so as not to die of hunger.
Fighting with low stack and industrial pollution in small and medium-sized Polish cities
Tuesday, November 20th | Rafał Psik | Zagłębiowski Smog Alert
Poland as a part of EU did recently a lot of improvement in reduction of emissions from Power Generation and Industrial sector. Still remains some industrial spots who are troublemakers for local communities, like coking plants, steel mils or paper productions. But mail pollution problem in Poland comes from coal, wood and waste burning at households. Over 50 % PM10 emissions and over 90 % of carcinogenic Bezo(a)piren comes from small burners at citizens houses across country. Recently many local groups started activities to press local and central government to make actions to improve air quality. Paper will describe air pollution current status in Poland as well as examples of local group actions in different locations in Poland.
The city where black snow falls
Tuesday, November 20th | Dmitriy Kalmykov | Ecomuseum
Smoke over the valley of UNESCO monasteries, employment and tourism
Tuesday, November 20th | Oleg Dulgaryan | SOS Without Borders
Alaverdi Copper Smelter Plant is one of the main industrial enterprises in the vastly polluted province of Lori, Armenia. The presentation will cover the environmental and social situation affected by the factory's operation as well as the activities of the 'SOS Alaverdi' initiative, its public perception and challenges in recent months after Armenian 'Velvet Revolution'. The new government balances between environmental and social problems in Alaverdi, facing significant pressure of the factory management.
Rusting promises - always in the future tense
Tuesday, November 20th | DrSc. Samir Lemeš | Eko forum Zenica
For more than a century, Bosnian city Zenica was the metallurgical center of the Western Balkans. The first attempts to cope with excessive air pollution were interrupted by the 1990’s war, when the steelworks stopped its operations. Global steel giant ArcelorMittal acquired the factory in 2004 and restarted the integral steel production in 2008, promising that pollution will be decreased. However, these promises remained unfulfilled with various excuses instead of big investments. A local NGO spent ten years trying to enhance environmental protection and pollution reduction, organizing meetings, media campaigns, protest rallies, researches, lawsuits and litigations, participating in environmental permitting process and persuading financial institutions for stricter conditions for loans to the industry.
Experiences with tackling European public financing for ArcelorMittal
Tuesday, November 20th | Pippa Gallop | Bankwatch CEE
The presentation will share CEE Bankwatch Network's experience of trying to ensure that a series of public loans to ArcelorMittal in Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina were used to ensure real environmental and safety improvements on the ground. By uniting with groups from the recipient countries to ensure constantly updated information, Bankwatch pushed the the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to make sure that its loans were used for their intended purpose. The workshop will also share ideas about what new activities could be undertaken regarding international finance for heavy industry.
Monitoring and control of air pollution in Ukraine
Wednesday, November 21st | Maksym Soroka
The report is devoted to the peculiarities of air monitoring at the local and national levels of Ukraine with the main problems of assessing the quality and safety of atmospheric air: the uncertainty of national legislation, the deficit of material and technical base, a limited list of environmental monitoring substances. The problems of air monitoring will be presented from different points of view – position of regulatory authorities, enterprises, local governments and the public. The presentation will discuss the mechanisms of formation and verification of statistical data about air pollutions in Ukraine as well as the unfair practices in hiding and minimizing emissions to the air. Lastly, the problems of public access to timely and reliable information on quality of atmospheric air will be described.
Citizens campaign and tracking the health risks
Wednesday, November 21st | Olena Reshetko
Having received information from activists of Dnipro and Zaporizhia, Olena Reshetko - former accountant - began to look for information on the risks to public health from environmental pollution in the city of Kharkiv on her own since all approached authorities refused to take any part in such calculations. Using the data from the Kharkiv Regional Oncological Center, Reshetko managed to make the calculation, which showed a corelation between an occurence of cancer-like diseases and the distance of people's accomodation from industrial enterprisesdue to being exposed to hazardous chemicals - hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, dioxin - from the Kharkiv Coke Plant and mineral wool plant Thermolife.
Cooperation with ArcelorMittal in a working group
Wednesday, November 21st | Anna Ambrosova | Stop poisoning Kryvyi Rih
The large industrial city of Kryvyi Rih in the center of Ukraine is often nicknamed as the 'Steel Heart' of the country. The largest enterprise of the city is PJSC ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih (AMKR). That it is the source of 80 % of emissions into the atmospheric air in the city, 40 % - in the Dnipropetrovsk region. After protests held in 2016, the AMKR's management had to start a dialogue with the public in order to avoid the conflict. As a result, a memorandum was signed betweenthe coalition of public organizations called 'Stop poisoning Kryvyi Rih' and the company. During the last two years, the coalition conducted an investigation into AMKR's violations of the Ukrainian legislation.
Involvement of experts in a public campaign
Wednesday, November 21st | Iryna Pirogova
Activism and local politics
Wednesday, November 21st | Maksym Borodin
Mariupol is a half-million city in which there are two large metallurgical enterprises of the Metinvest company, owned by the oligarch Rinat Akhmetov - Azovstal and the Illich Steel and Iron Works. Disregarding any sort of technological optimalization the environmental situation in Mariupol deteriorated significantly in 2011-2012, causing caused a series of mass protests. As a result, Metinvest was forced to shut down part of the outdated enterprises and start with the modernization of the facilities. Despite this one-time victory, local activists lack political influence necessary for any further or even global environmental changes. Will they succeed in their goal changing the ecology of not only Mariupol, but also other industrial cities of Ukraine?
Clean Skies - participating in Ostrava‘s air pollution solutions
Wednesday, November 21st | Nikola Carić & Nela Římanová | Clean Sky Association
What pollutes the air in Ostrava? What can we do about it? And how the NGOs should try to resolve this topic? The presentation will provide an introduction to field of work of the Ostrava based Clean Sky NGO and its recent activities, including the . Presentation will cover lowering of pollution possibilities.
Legal tools for fighting air pollution in the EU
Wednesday, November 21st | Petra Andrášik | Frank Bold
The presentation will present tools in three EU directives which are key for tackling air pollution. We are going to look at the tools in Air Quality Directive, National Emissions Ceiling Directive and Industrial Emissions Directive. Some tools are going to be presented in more detail with overview of results and best practice achievable with them. Presentation will also talk abou infringement procedures and about Czech experiences with air quality protection cases.
Efforts of a steelmaker to minimize its environmental footprint
Wednesday, November 21st | Tomáš Mosler | ArcelorMittal Ostrava
ArcelorMittal Ostrava, established in 1951, is a leading steel producer in the Czech Republic producing more than 2 million tonnes of steel annually and employing 6500 people. It takes a comprehensive approach towards reducing its environmental footprint, focusing both on water and air protection and waste minimisation. To minimise its air emissions, it installed greening technologies in 3 stages: in 1990s, between 2008-2012 and between 2015-2016. Through the greening, the steelmaker has reduced its dust emission up to date by 99 % compared to 1980s, from almost 40 thousand tonnes to 379 tonnes in 2017. Emissions of PAU have reduced by 90 % since 2009.
Here, you can find an alphabetical list of all lecturers speaking at the Ostrava conference.
ALTERIO Mariano (Peacelink, Taranto): Environmental disaster of ILVA-Taranto and violation of human rights
AMBROSOVA Anna (Kryvyi Rih): Cooperation with ArcelorMittal in a working group
ANDRÁŠIK Petra (Frank Bold): Legal tools for fighting air pollution in the EU
BORODIN Maksym (Mariupol): Activism and local politics
CARIĆ Nikola (Clean Sky Association, Ostrava): Clean Skies - participating in Ostrava's air pollution solutions
DULGARYAN Oleg (SOS Without Borders, Alaverdi): Smoke over the valley of UNESCO monasteries, employment and tourism
GALLOP Pippa (Bankwatch CEE): Experiences with tackling European public financing for ArcelorMittal
JANČÍK Petr (Technical University of Ostrava): Technical and technological possibilities to reduce pollution from the steelworks – the story of Ostrava
KALMYKOV Dmitriy (Ecomuseum, Karaganda): The city where black snow falls
KOLÁŘ Jan (CENIA): Implementation of the EU Industrial Emissions Directive in the Czech Republic
KREJČÍ Blanka (Czech Hydrometeorological Institute): The national air quality monitoring network in the Czech Republic
LEMEŠ Samir (Eko forum Zenica): Rusting promises - always in the future tense
MOSLER Tomáš (ArcelorMittal Ostrava): Efforts of a steelmaker to minimize its environmental footprint
MRLINA Matěj (Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic): Legal, technical and personnel capacities of the government to fight air pollution
PETRLÍK Jindřich (Arnika, Prague): Top ten largest polluters: Access to information as a tool in campaigns for clean air
PIROGOVA Iryna (Zaporozhye): Involvement of experts in a public campaign
PSIK Rafał (Zagłębiowski Smog Alert, Sosnowiec): Fighting with low stack and industrial pollution in small and medium-sized Polish cities
RESHETKO Olena (Kharkiv): Citizens campaign and tracking the health risks
ŘÍMANOVÁ Nela (Clean Sky Association, Ostrava): Clean Skies - participating in Ostrava´s air pollution solutions
SOROKA Maksym (Dnipro): Monitoring and control of air pollution in Ukraine
ŠRÁM Radim (Czech Academy of Sciences): Impact of air pollution on human health
Europe's Toxic Air to be Discussed at a Unique International Conference in the Czech Republic
OSTRAVA – A three-day gathering in this Czech industrial city will examine the ways to resolve the dangers of air pollution on the national and international levels (1). Environmentalists, together with business, governmental, and regional representatives will seek a mutually agreed conclusion. The conference is being convened by the non-governmental organisations Arnika and Ecoaction (2) at Ostrava University next week – from November 19 to 22.
• • • A press briefing will be held on Monday, November 19 at 12:30 (3) • • •
The first-of-its-kind 'Fighting Air Pollution in the Industrial Cities of Europe' conference held in the north-east of the Czech Republic brings together over twenty environmental experts from eight countries, together with authorities and representatives of heavy industry.
A standpoint on Czech air pollution will also be presented by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute and Czech Environmental Information Agency (CENIA) and the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic, focused mainly on the system of air pollution controls and monitoring that is in use. On top of that, legal issues and the impact on human health will be discussed by Petra Andrášik from Frank Bold and Radim Šrám from the Czech Academy of Sciences, respectively (4).
Air pollution is borderless
Italy, Poland, Kazakhstan, and Armenia will share their points of view in terms of air pollution. The agenda, together with the list of attendees itself, makes the event unique, since such a gathering of larger numbers of NGOs has never been arranged before. Another country in question is Ukraine, from which several local activists will attend the conference. The Eastern European country suffers from serious air pollution, which kills around 120,000 local inhabitants every year (5). The situation is especially critical in the industrial cities of Mariupol, Zaporozhye, Kharkiv, Dnipro, and Kryvyi Rih.
According Tamara Kharchylava, a lawyer from the Kiev-based NGO Ecoaction, pollution is one of today’s great existential challenges. “The huge economic consequences aside, air pollution alone kills 4.5 million people every year,” she states, reminding us that the deaths attributed to pollution in general are triple those from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. “The goal of the conference is for the countries to inspire each other to provide their people with healthy breathing conditions,” Kharchylava concludes.
Former hotspot, now an example
The venue city of Ostrava, the capital of the Moravian-Silesian Region, is an example of a successful civic campaign for clean air. Once the heart of the Czechoslovak metallurgical industry, Ostrava was one of the country’s worst-polluted cities. Thanks to pressure lasting almost three decades, the situation improved significantly.
“We hope the story of Ostrava will be inspiring for the attending parties, encouraging them to agree on specific steps to resolve the situation in Europe,” concludes Martin Skalský, the chair of Arnika – Citizens’ Support Centre, on his expectations for the meeting’s general declaration.
The conference is organised under the auspices of the vice-governor of the Moravian-Silesian Region and the deputy mayor of the city of Ostrava, in cooperation with Ostrava University and thanks to financial support from the Transition Promotion Programme of the Czech Republic, Global Greengrants Fund, Moravian-Silesian Region, and the City of Ostrava.
Contacts for media:
Notes for editors:
(1) In total, twenty panels on air pollution will be presented in Ostrava. See the full agenda here.
(2) Arnika is a Prague-based non-governmental organisation established in 2001 and uniting people seeking a better environment. Since its foundation it has become one of the most important environmental organisations in the Czech Republic, with three key pillars: engaging the public, professional arguments, and communication with the media. In 2018 Arnika has been focusing on improving air conditions for the people of Ukraine through the analysis of contaminated sites. Read more...
Ecoaction (Екодія) is a civil society organisation that unites the efforts of active and concerned people in a joint struggle to protect the environment through advocating sustainable energy, opposing dirty industrial enterprises, and supporting local communities in defending their environmental rights and seeking to participate in decision making. Read more...
- MUDr. Radim Šrám, DrSc. – Head of the Department of Genetic Ecotoxicology of the Institute of Experimental Medicine of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
- doc. Ing. Petr Jančík, Ph.D. – Head of Department of Environmental Protection in Industry, Faculty of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, Technical University of Ostrava
(4) Activists from various countries, environmental experts, authorities and business representatives will present their views on the issue. Check out who will be speaking at the Ostrava conference via the list of participants here.
(5) According to the data of the World Health Organisation, Ukraine ranked first in mortality from air pollution per capita, with 120 deaths per ten thousand inhabitants in 2012. China tops the WHO list for deadly outdoor air pollution (Theguardian.com)
This year, the non-governmental organisations Arnika and Ecoaction, together with the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague, conducted an analysis of samples from the above-mentioned industrial cities in Ukraine. The results are expected by the end of the year. Read more at: Czech experts are collecting new data on air pollution in Ukraine (Arnika.org)