The southern city of Nis is the most polluted urban area in Serbia with average values of heavy metals in the air standing at 223 micrograms per cubic metre over a 24 hour period, Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti reported citing data from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Nis residents have been using social networks to warn of the pollution, saying that people should not venture out of their homes without face masks. Medial experts have warned that the masks on sale in pharmacies offer no protection from the suspended particles in smoke, dust and other sources of pollution.
Experts quoted by the daily said that the suspended particles and heavy metals (lead, cadmium and nickel) should not cross the threshold of 50 micrograms per cubic metre. They said that the high pollution levels in Nis this winter have been caused by the use of coal and wood for heating in about two thirds of the households in the city.
The latest data shows that the air in Nis is more polluted than in the town of Valjevo where high concentrations of suspended particles were registered this winter. The values cited by the daily are 142 micrograms per square metre. Kosjeric is the third most polluted with 98.2 micrograms.
The agency released data for other Serbian cities – Belgrade 54.6 micrograms, Novi Sad 25, Pancevo 65.3, Popovac 50.1, Bor 19.3.