Traffic in Prishtina. Photo: Atdhe Mulla.

Air quality in Prishtina plummets

Prishtina’s air quality deteriorated rapidly over Wednesday and Thursday, following a period of relatively clear air for citizens in the capital.

Highs of 431 and lows of 57 have been recorded this week on Prishtina’s Air Quality Index, with the levels of pollution in the air continuing to yo-yo throughout January.

The key source of data concerning the levels of particulate matter in Kosovo’s air is the US embassy in Prishtina’s Air Quality Index, AQI, website, which provides real-time monitoring of the pollution as well as a five day forecast of the weather and air quality levels to be expected throughout the week.

Switzerland-based AirVisual, the organization that has gathered the largest global database of air quality data by city since 2015, uses a six-marker scale of danger concerning the levels of air pollution, from ‘healthy’ to ‘hazardous.’ The index ranges from 0-500, and any city reaching levels higher than 300 is considered ‘hazardous.’

Last week in air quality. Photo: AirVisual.

AirVisual recorded ‘hazardous’ figures on Wednesday and Thursday, ‘unhealthy’ figures for Friday, yet Saturday is expected to be ‘healthy.’

Experts have attributed the air pollution in Prishtina to the coal-based thermal power plants outside Prishtina, domestic coal and wood-based heating, fumes from car exhausts and high levels of traffic, as well as ‘temperature inversion,’ the creation of air channels at the ground level in Prishtina where harmful fumes and emissions become trapped. This is exacerbated by the lack of horizontal or vertical air channels that would normally carry this pollution away.

The Kosovo Environmental Protection Agency, AMMK, also publishes monthly air quality data, measuring particulate matter in the air at the sizes of 2.5 micrograms and 10 micrograms, using micrograms per cubic meter of air, µg/m3, as the unit of measurement.

‘Unhealthy’ levels of air pollution, anything over 150 for AirVisual’s AQI, measure in at around 60µg/m3.

The peaks and troughs in air quality throughout January this year read very similar to AMMK’s statistical data from January 2017 and 2018.

January 2018’s air quality data saw concentrations of particulate matter dropping to 69µg/m3, and reaching highs of 290µg/m3. January 2017’s data reads similarly, with the daily average ranging between 20 and more than 250µg/m3.

The concentration in Prishtina on Thursday hit 221µg/m3, considered ‘hazardous’ on Air Visual’s scale.

Alarming levels of air pollution were recorded in Prishtina in December, peaking at 456 at the beginning of the month.

18/01/2019 - 12:11

18 January 2019 - 12:11

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.