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Corruption, Polution

Schools Closed in Prishtina until Investigation of the Heating Fuel

43 schools in the municipality of Prishtina have been closed, due to reports of high levels of sulphur in the fuel, which is used in the heating systems.1r

The Mayor, Shpend Ahmeti called for an immediate investigation by the Public Health Institute into this matter and called for all the schools to be closed, as soon as this was brought to his attention.

Some facts about the Health Hazzards of Sulphur:

– Neurological effects and behavioural changes
– Disturbance of blood circulation
– Heart damage
– Effects on eyes and eyesight
– Reproductive failure
– Damage to immune systems
– Stomach and gastrointestinal disorder
– Damage to liver and kidney functions
– Hearing defects
– Disturbance of the hormonal metabolism
– Dermatological effects
– Suffocation and lung embolism

Sulphur dioxide, SO2, is a colorless gas or liquid with a strong, choking odor.  It is produced from the burning of fossil fuels (coal and oil) and the smelting of mineral ores (aluminum, copper, zinc, lead and iron) that contain sulfur. 

Most of the sulfur dioxide released into the environment comes from electric utilities, especially those that burn coal.  Some other sources of sulfur dioxide include petroleum refineries, cement manufacturing, paper pulp manufacturing and metal smelting and processing facilities.  Locomotives, large ships, and some non-road diesel equipment currently burn high sulfur fuel and release sulfur dioxide into the air.  In nature, volcanic eruptions can release sulfur dioxide into the air.

Short term exposure to high enough levels of SO2 can be life threatening.  Generally, exposures to SO2 cause a burning sensation in the nose and throat.  Also, SO2 exposure can cause difficulty breathing, including changes in the body’s ability to take a breath or breathe deeply, or take in as much air per breath.  Long term exposure to sulfur dioxide can cause changes in lung function and aggravate existing heart disease.  Asthmatics may be sensitive to changes in respiratory effects due to SO2 exposure at even low concentrations. Sulfur Dioxide is not classified as a human carcinogen (it has not been shown to cause cancer in humans). 

An announcement by the Mayor of Prishtina Shpend Ahmeti:

Pristina Municipality wishes to stress once again that the earlier decision based on safety in schools, classes will not resume Monday in schools where the sulfur values are ​​high. At this moment, the Kosovo Police is collecting samples at other schools and when a school deemed to be safe, teaching will resume immediately.

Otherwise, it is very clear that the school has oil, which two laboratories certified, by the Ministry of Trade and Industry for analysis were assessed as non-conforming and contrary to law . At the moment the National Institute for Public Health confirms that these values ​​are not hazardous to children’s health we will take another decision .

Until then, the Municipality is committed to maintain the health of children despite the pressures and conflicting statements from Ministries .

Pristina Municipality
Office of Public Relations

FOK

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