With the beginning of the heating season, Belgrade was again at the top of the list of the world most polluted cities, and on Monday, it topped that list.
On Tuesday, the application ‘Beoeko’ of the City Institute for Public Health declared the air in Serbia’s capital acceptable.
„The air today is neither polluted nor good, but it is acceptable, which means it is of a medium category. By reviewing the results during the night, we saw the air was polluted at some hours, showing that we had entered the heating season. What is characteristic for the beginning of the heating season is the so-called peak, i.e. the increase of the number of air polluters,“ Andrej Sostaric, of the City Institute for Public Health, told N1.
According to him, the first ignitions could emit much larger pollutants because some fireboxes had not been maintained for almost six months and then emitted large concentrations of contaminants.
„The data on the app is updated regularly. In addition to the data on the number of pollutants with micro concentrations appear, the air quality index is calculated, and a general assessment is given on the quality of the air in the previous hour, practically in real-time,“ Sostaric said.
He added that each category of air index was followed with recommendations for the general population and especially vulnerable groups’ behaviour.
„It is also important that people know they can learn about air quality accurately and on time, to adjust their behaviour and thus protect their health. Warmer days are coming, but they do not exclude colder mornings, so we expect the pollution to last as long as the time with large temperature oscillations lasts. We should keep in mind that we are only at the beginning of the heating season so that we will have a significant number of these episodes by the end of March next year,“ Sostaric added.
In June, the City of Belgrade adopted an air quality plan, envisaging measures for the next ten years.
Sostaric said it stipulated fifteen goals divided into eighty measures targeting the most critical problems, such as heating, individual fireplaces, traffic and other polluters.
He added that a working group had been formed to monitor the implementation of the air quality plan.
On Monday, Belgrade Mayor Zoran Radojcic blamed the air pollution on climate changes and added the City was buying electric busses and planting trees to curb the pollution.
He also said that the problem needed a decade to be solved.
On the other hand, the environmentalist said 100 electric busses and 2,000 new trees were not enough, blaming the City authorities for being negligent and inert in reducing the air pollution.