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Science for Change: how Kosovo’s young people are monitoring air pollution

Kosovo is one of the most polluted regions in Europe, where most pollution levels are significantly above European Union (EU) levels. According to a World Bank report (January, 2013), “air pollution in Kosovo causes 835 premature deaths, 310 new cases of chronic bronchitis, 600 hospital admissions and 11,610 emergency visits each year.” On the other hand, with 50% of its population under the age of 25 Kosovo is known for having youngest population in Europe. However, young people’s participation in the decision-making process in all areas remains a major challenge. As a response, “Science for Change” project is an attempt to address these environmental concerns through “citizen science” – involving young people and ordinary citizens in the monitoring of air pollution in their local communities. Launched by Transitions Online, Internet Artizans, UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo, NGO “Prosperity Initiative in Kosovo”, and supported by the Czech MFA and UNICEF Kosovo, the project’s first activities took place in 2014.

At the time, local young technologists, students, and community members from around Kosovo joined environmental advocates, journalists, representatives from Kosovo’s local and central institutions and international experts in the citizen science movement – “Science for Change” –  to co-create and collaboratively implement an air quality monitoring project and policy advocacy campaign for three sites around Kosovo (Prishtina, Drenas and Plemetina). Using digital (Smart Citizen Kits) and non-digital technologies (diffusion tubes, ghost wipes, etc.), the youth-led action groups discovered high levels of NO2 in several parts of Prishtina. While focusing on NO2, CO2, SO2 and heavy metals during the first year, “Science for Change”  expanded its program in 2015,  introducing PM (particulate matter) monitoring in Kosovo. Together, NO2 and particulate matter make up the most deadly part of air pollution and it is vital to make their invisible presence visible.

Considering the tremendous potential that “Science for Change” can play in Kosovo’s environmental narrative by introducing cutting-edge methods, tools and processes, and bringing Kosovo’s young people at forefront of the project, the project’s vision is to create a sustainable and independent movement that could take the role of an environmental watchdog in Kosovo and act as a model for the rest of the region.

Want to know more about the project?

Visit their website: http://citizenscienceks.org/

Like their Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/citsciks

Follow them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/citsciks



Science for Change