The Slovak Republic and its neighbouring countries, especially Czechia and Poland, are EU Member States facing problems with air quality, which has negative impacts on public health and environment. They are subject to the infringement procedure due to non-compliance with Ambient Air Quality Directive (AAQD) requirements. The main air quality problems in Slovakia are caused by excessive concentrations of suspended ParticulateMatter (PM10 and PM2.5) coming mainly from burning solid fuels for household heating, benzo(a)pyrene (80% of BaP is comes from household heating), and nitrogen oxide (NO2) emissions coming mainly from transport. The contribution of agricultural activities (main source of ammonia emission) on the creation of secondary PMs has to be considered as well. In some areas, the air pollution is still caused by local industrial sources.
The main objective of the LIFE-IP SK AQ Improvement project is to support effective air quality management, with the aim to improve air quality and reduce exposure of the Slovakian population to the harmful impacts of air pollutants. Specific project objectives are: enhancing effective air quality management and implementation of Air Quality Management Plans (AQMPs); promoting air quality measures and raising awareness of the importance of good air quality; accelerating the implementation of measures to minimise negative impacts of household heating and transport on air quality; supporting the exchange of inefficient heating sources (boilers) in households; and improving air quality monitoring and reporting at regional and local level.
The project directly contributes to implementing the Ambient Air Quality Directive (AAQD) and the national air pollution control programme relating to the National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive. It contributes to the preparation of the national Air Quality Strategy and strengthens the enforcement of measures included in Air Quality Management Plans. The project is also relevant to EU policy on promoting renewable energy.
In addition to the IP budget itself, the project will facilitate the coordinated use of over 1 000 million of complementary funding from the EU and domestic funds and programmes, mainly from the Operational Programme Quality of Environment (OP QE), the Integrated Regional Operational Programme (IROP), the Operational Programme Integrated Infrastructure (OP II), and the Cross Border Programmes (AT-SK).
Linked to direct actions of LIFE IP: enhanced capacities and competences of self-governing regions and municipalities for effective implementation of tasks related to AQMP measures through the creation of new Air Quality Manager positions in 6 self-governing regions, and 8 more by the MoE and the Slovak Environment Agency, in order to improve management of regional and local air quality authorities and coordination from national level (AQ Coordination Unit); increased awareness of decision makers (at the level of self-governing regions and municipalities) about the importance of measures to improve air quality, air quality planning and reporting; increased public awareness about air quality and its health impacts, and behavioural changes of citizens to improve air quality (household heating, green transport); promotion of air quality issues through information campaigns and education programmes; introduction of regional and local air quality monitoring and reporting; collection of statistical data at regional levelrelated to household heating; improved air quality modelling and reporting at regional and local level (analytical part of the AQMPs), including the assessment of impacts of measures on the air quality; an air quality analysis of local air pollution impacts directly linked to health effects and implied costs; and update, revision and development of new AQMPs.
Linked to complementary actions: replacement of old/solid-fuel boilers; lowered energy need in households after realisation of the project by 10% (17.7 kWh/m2/year); increased energy efficiency; increased use of renewable energy sources; improvement of transport systems and traffic situation in cities; increased use of public transport and sustainable (green) transport (cycling routes etc.); reduced emissions of PM2.5 in households after realisation of the project based on National Air Pollutants Inventory by 3 515 tons/year (25%); and increased amount of funds (both EU and national) allocated for air quality measures.