The polluted air in Bitola and striking data that directly reflect on the health of the people of Bitola with a new patient with cancer every day, has still not raised awareness among citizens under Pelister higher level to enable more responsive to demand coping. This is one of the conclusions of last night’s debate in Bitola on “A healthy environment is a basic human right”, organized by the “Media Diversity” within the project “Global discussions.”
“The citizens of Bitola have not yet raised awareness to a higher level about what’s going on. Bitola citizens have a special mentality and believe that others should do the job. If the city has 26 thousand households and as Oncologists every day receive a new patient with cancer which means in every 71 family, 1 member of that family has a severe illness or disease. Even this dire statistic does encourage us to organize ourselves as citizens, to take to the streets and to demand immediate and concrete measures on how to prevent this air pollution”, said Aneta Blazevska, a journalist.
In Bitola, 180 days a year we are breathing foul air, full of dangerous dust that directly affects our health. Last year the civil association “We work” managed to take to the streets, a several thousand citizens participated in peaceful protests demanding fresh air in Bitola, but the initiative died down quickly.
“Raising awareness is slow, but we came to a wall which is impenetrable. In Bitola there is a program for a healthy environment, but this program because it is our populist mayor kept it in his draw. Look, here is the wall that we have drawn. That is why it requires massive organization, and we are preparing for it – said Dusko Gruevski from the civil association “We work”.
Besa Tateshi, an expert on Ecology from the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning is working on the project for A integrated – environmental permit from REK Bitola, said the relevant Ministry know it’s no great secret that the biggest air polluter in Bitola is electro – Energy Plant. But according to her public pressure over pollution on the Ministry is not in those proportions which is the problem.
In the debate involved citizens criticizing, how it is possible in a city where air pollution is at such extremely high levels and the municipal budget allocates only 10 thousand euros for environmental projects and 50 thousand euros to invest in making the city ‘beautiful’ and upgrading metal bridges.