“The composition of any product and information about its producer is provided on the packaging, so you can quickly understand what you are about to consume. With the air we breathe in every minute, we have no idea about its composition. We urge the state authorities and self-governments to provide citizens with access to information on air pollution in our cities,” explains Elena Shafranova, a member of the petition committee from the non-governmental organization Pravo E, based in Kryvyi Rih, one of the most polluted industrial cities of Ukraine. “The people can join our petition online or download the signature list and mail us handwritten signatures – they are more valuable because of the law,” Shafranova adds.
The petition addresses the Parliament, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, Ministry of Health, heads of regional state administrations, mayors, and city councillors. Besides public access to the information from the state air monitoring systems, the petition demands the introduction of an open register of emission permits issued for industrial facilities, and an update of environmental decision-making procedures.
“In Czechia, one governmental institution is responsible for monitoring the environment in the whole country. All the figures that are measured are instantly available online. Thus, journalists can, for example, include smog warnings in weather forecasts. The solution of extreme air pollution in Ukraine is not possible without the state authorities opening access to information to the citizens,” Pavlína Filippovová, from the Czech NGO Arnika, comments.
Any citizen of Ukraine who cares about the cleanliness of the air can sign the petition online on the website CleanAir.org.ua. The web portal was developed within the project Clean Air for Ukraine, coordinated by Arnika and supported by the Transition Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and National Endowment for Democracy, USA. Its main feature is informing people on air pollution in their town through EcoCity – a network of civic air monitoring stations installed in the industrial regions of Kryvbas and Donbas.