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Suzana Carp
RO

Clean air is a human right! What can your (local) government do to uphold it?

"Hi, my name is Suzana Carp and I work for a climate policy think tank Sandbag in Brussels. In my free time, I also volunteer for a local environmental organisation here in Romania, an NGO called EcoDobrogea.

I am passionate about clean air. The same way that citizens have the right to clean water, we also have a right to clean air. 

At the moment, in Europe and in Romania, our air is heavily polluted by particles coming from the coal plants which are unfortunately still part of our energy system. 

On top of that, in Romania, you have a constantly increasing car fleet of diesel cars which are further contributing to the problem of air pollution in cities. 

Of course, public transport should not be an additional source of air pollution. So, when we’re trying to implement local policies to ensure that citizens do enjoy clean air, we should be very careful and choose the cleanest options available.  

What happened in my city in Romania, Constanta, is that unfortunately an older electric bus fleet was replaced by a second-hand diesel bus fleet with the help of a loan from a multinational bank. 

This is something unacceptable. The problem with taking loans to change fleet in public transport is that you also lock in technology for a certain amount of time. 

In this case, you have these second-hand diesel buses that are going to be there for at least ten years from the moment of their purchase. 

This makes very little sense because eventually, you will have to replace them and go back to electric public transport or public transport that is emissions-free. 

So we have to be really careful with the choices we make today because they’re impacting our future. 

The same way that in Brussels I work to encourage the development of clean energy systems,  at the local level it’s up to all of us citizens to demand to have cleaner air in our streets. 

That might require working with local authorities to encourage them to keep our best interest in mind when choosing policies."

recorded in 2019

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