The City of Skopje is located in the central part of Skopje valley surrounded with high mountains on all sides. The city is spread over an area of 1818km2 and lies at an altitude of 245m. According to official data from the State Statistical Office the total population of the city for 2012 is estimated to be 609 140 citizens . With 336 people per km2 and 29.6% of the country’s total population (2012), Skopje is the most populous region in the Republic of Macedonia.
Most of the country’s industrial, trade and service capacities are concentrated in this region. Skopje, as the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, is the economic, administrative, cultural and academic center of the country. ...view middle of the document...
Responsible institutions for measuring air quality in Skopje and the presence of harmful gases are the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, Hydro-meteorological Institute and the National Institute of Health. Under the Law on Environment , the Ministry of Environment and the Municipality of the City of Skopje are obliged to inform the public about all cases in which the allowable emissions have been exceeded, as well as to warn the public about the dangers of such instances/breaches of limits and to take additional measures to improve the situation.
According to the Law on Ambient Air Quality , the threshold concentrations of particles PM10 in the air within 24 hours is limited to 50 μg/m3 and the average annual limit value is 40 μg/m3. Furthermore, the 24-hour limit value may be exceeded up to 35 times per year. However, according to the State Statistical Office based on data from the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, this quota has been grossly exceeded in almost all areas in Skopje in the last 10 years. For illustration, the following table presents the concentrations of suspended particles with a size of 10 micrometres or less (PM10) in ambient air in Skopje measured in μg/m3; the indicator shows the exceeding of the average annual limit value, which is 40 μg/m3.
The data given in both tables show that the concentrations of suspended particles with a size up to 10 micrometers (PM10) highly exceed the 24-hour limit value of 50 μg/m3, as well as the average annual concentration at all measuring points in Skopje.
Inhalable small particles can be one of the most damaging pollutants in the air. Suspended particulate matter with a diameter less than 10 micrometers (PM10) can penetrate deep into the respiratory system of humans. According to an analysis by the World Bank in Macedonia, approximately 1,350 people die a year, as a result of air pollution in these tiny floating particles (PM10). According to this study, air pollution costs the economy 253 million per year, or about 3.2% of the GDP. If the air pollution were reduced to the limit values of the EU, over 800 deaths per year could be avoided.
All three institutions accountable for the measurement of air pollution and reporting to the public, have ascertained the pollution problem and the breach of the allowable emissions, especially the high concentration of the suspended particles. However, despite the repeated instances in which the maximum allowable values have been exceeded over the years, competent institutions have provided insufficient warnings and corresponding information to the citizens about the condition of the air they breathe, and have repeatedly failed to make appropriate policies to reduce the pollution. Thereby, these institutions ignore the principles of the Law of Environment and the Law on the quality of ambient air.
Harmful particles are emitted into the atmosphere from a number of sources, such as vehicle exhaust, household heating, industrial...