BISHKEK, February 3, 2022 – Today, the World Bank, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ecology, and Technical Supervision of the Kyrgyz Republic, and Bishkek Mayor’s Office launched a series of technical workshops that will focus on reducing air pollution in Bishkek and surrounding areas. This series of knowledge exchange events aims to create a forum to identify air quality challenges, needs, and priorities, and explore areas for further collaboration in order to address air pollution issues in the capital city. The series will run through October 2022.
“As a lead coordinating agency, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ecology, and Technical Supervision of the Kyrgyz Republic works to address the quality of air in the country in close cooperation with the Bishkek Mayor’s Office, local communities, and non-governmental organizations. We value our partnership with the World Bank and international development partners to improve the air of our capital and health of its residents,” noted Kanatbek Sadykov, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, Ecology, and Technical Supervision of the Kyrgyz Republic.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year more than 6 million people worldwide die from heart and lung disease, cancer, and stroke, caused by air pollution. Among its victims, vulnerable groups represent a disproportionate share. Apart from health impacts, air pollution also carries large economic costs and incalculable damage to the environment.
Like elsewhere, poor air quality poses major health risks for residents of large cities in the Kyrgyz Republic. IQAir, a global information platform that monitors air quality in real time, has repeatedly reported high levels of harmful and toxic substances in Bishkek’s air. The air pollution levels in Bishkek frequently exceed the WHO Ambient Air Quality Guidelines many times, putting the health of the capital’s residents at risk.
The major sources of air pollution are residential heating in the winter and transport. According to data provided by the Kyrgyz Republic under the Convention for Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, in 2018, residential heating contributed about 50 percent to particulate emissions, while transport accounted for more than 70 percent of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions.
The virtual workshop gathered stakeholders from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ecology and Technical Supervision of the Kyrgyz Republic and other government agencies, Bishkek Mayor’s Office, academia, development partners including UNDP, GIZ and the Asian Development Bank, as well as leading national and international development and environment experts. The participants took stock of the current interventions and needed actions and coordination among all stakeholders in the energy, transport, and other spheres to ensure clean and healthy air for all.
“Bishkek Municipality is taking certain measures to improve the environmental situation in the city as reflected in the Plan of Comprehensive Measures to Improve the Environmental Situation in Bishkek and Alamudun and Sokuluk districts of Chui region, the Green Economy Development Program and other documents. The Mayor's Office is always ready for cooperation and open to any suggestions. I am convinced that the experience and knowledge of experts from the World Bank, the GIZ, and other organizations will be useful to our city and its residents,” said Maksatbek Sazykulov, First Vice Mayor of Bishkek.
The World Bank supports the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic in identifying major drivers of air pollution, as well as short- and long-term complementary measures and investment activities to improve air quality in Bishkek and its surrounding areas. This includes knowledge exchange to develop jointly with governmental and non-government stakeholders the Air Quality Management Plan and to strengthen the country’s regulatory framework, institutions, and the public sector capacity.
“The World Bank is committed to supporting the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic in its efforts to address air pollution and climate vulnerabilities,” said Naveed Hassan Naqvi, World Bank’s Country Manager for the Kyrgyz Republic. “Also, our technical and financial support is focused on transition to a green economy, renewal of natural capital such as water, landscapes and forests, and biodiversity – all with an aim to give the people of the Kyrgyz Republic a healthier and more prosperous future.”