December 2015

Within usual responsibility of supervision of public health in the country, the Institute of Public Health will prepare this information in order to inform the population timely and correct and to propose measures to reduce the health risks from air pollution, which are in increasing trend.

This year, as in the past, with the beginning of the heating season we have entered a period of frequent episodes of high concentrations of air pollutants, primarily PM-10 and 2.5 particles. Almost all measuring points of the network stations of the Ministry of Environment, are showing concentrations of these particles (PM-10) several times more than the allowed average of 50 micrograms/m3

This alarming situation is in Skopje, Tetovo and Bitola. In the past week (04-08.12) the average daily concentrations of particles in Tetovo amounted from 246 to 387 micrograms, in Bitola from 54 to 222 micrograms and in Lisice (Skopje) from 18 to 208 micrograms /m3

The biggest sources of air pollution in our country are: the process of producing electricity using solid fuels-like coal and liquid fuels, industrial production processes, emissions from traffic and heating in homes and administrative capacities in winter period. The part of these sources in the emission of all the various in different pollutants. The largest part in emission of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, is from the electricity and thermal energy, and in emission of PM10 and carbon monoxide – the traffic and heating of households, administrative buildings and other companies.

 In cities, additional sources of pollution are numerous sites of construction activities that emit large quantities of dust, and also gases emitted from the landfills (Tetovo). In Tetovo are evident the largest concentrations of suspended particles in the air, a city with a very high population density of 330 inhabitants per square kilometer, heavy traffic, inadequate urbanization and increased construction activities, production capacities.

Near the city, the production facilities like Silmak and Teteks are located, which along all factors mentioned before (such as density of urban traffic, unregulated individually warming, inappropriate urbanization and construction activities), contribute to enormous air pollution.  Also, the topography of Tetovo has a significant impact, because the city is located in a basin and during a fog, there is not enough air circulation that would can blow it out. According to this fact, there is a temperature inversion where pollutants survive longer in the air.

Effects on health

Although the primary organs that suffers from the air pollution are lungs and cardio-vascular system. Additionally, there is almost no organ which doesn’t suffer from the impact at a high concentration of particles in the air and mostly the so-called sensitive population, like children from 0-5 years old, the elderly people, people with chronical diseases, patients with asthma, people who work outdoors and smokers whose risk of serious cardiac burden increases to 3-4 times.

Participating together with experts from the World Bank in analysis of environmental data and medical evidence of the connection between air pollution and health in the Institut of Public Health has been calculated that approximately 1350 deaths per year in the country, are due to particulate air pollution and thousands of lost productive days . Everyday people suffer from respiratory diseases (asthma, chronic bronchitis, etc.) which cause thousands of lost productive years of life. The pollution particles cost the Macedonian economy about 253 million euros or 3.2 percent of GDP in 2011 (due to the high number of cases of premature death, health costs, reduced productivity of the population and the absence of civil jobs).