Clean air is the basis for the health of the entire ecosystem. Air is a mixture of gases that make up the atmosphere, consisting of approximately 4/5 nitrogen, 1/5 oxygen and very small amounts of noble gases, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, ozone, water vapor, and various impurities. Troubles arise when the ratio is disrupted. The atmosphere is increasingly polluted and toxic substances are transported by air to remote locations, becoming a means of pollution for other segments of the environment.
In Serbia there is a particularly widespread problem of air pollution, primarily as a consequence of a very low level of environmental awareness. Basically, the causes of pollution are bad quality motor fuels, the use of older vehicles without catalytic converters, and outdated technology in the industrial and energy sectors. Exhaust from vehicles is one of the most dangerous contaminants of clean and healthy air. This problem is particularly pronounced in the larger cities like Belgrade and Novi Sad — a consequence of the increasing number of cars on the streets.
In Serbia last year more than 100,000 used vehicles were imported; six times more than new vehicles, of which about 18,000 were imported. The data indicate that it is necessary to tighten regulations and raise the standards for the import of used cars, which are poorly controlled. Vehicles older than 14 years are imported into the country and are driven in traffic without any safety or emissions controls. Experts have pointed out that it is necessary to amend regulations on the import of used vehicles in order to conform and adapt to modern and environmental standards. In this way, further contamination of the environment can be prevented and the conditions for greater safety improved. Serbia must follow the example of many European cities, which have already introduced preventive measures to restrict traffic due to pollution from vehicle emissions.
Serbia’s Director of Traffic Safety agreed with the initiative to amend the said decree and agreed to meet with representatives of state institutions, such as the Ministry of Commerce; Ministry of Transport; Ministry of Energy, Development and the Environment; and the Ministry of Finance and Customs Administration. After accepting this initiative, the situation is expected to improve. However, this is a difficult process that can not be expected to be resolved overnight. The large number of old cars that already exist in Serbia will certainly stay in the country for a long time.
What should people do while waiting for politicians to solve the problem? First, they should drive less. Simply driving less can contribute to pollution reduction. And driving less does not mean sitting at home. Try to combine driving with other ways of getting to where you want to go. Walk, ride a bike or start using public transport.