The Macedonian cities of Skopje, Bitola, Kicevo and Tetovo on Wednesday reported the worst air quality, with PM10 (particulate matter up to 10 micrometers in size) concentrations higher than the maximum amount allowed, according to official data.
The air in the capital city Skopje measured 196 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter (micrograms/m3), while in Tetovo city the reading was 110 and in Bitola 84 micrograms/m3, the Macedonian Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning said on Wednesday.
Skopje has introduced a new system through which the most polluted areas and streets are sprayed with the chemical calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) that helps reduce air pollution. CMA treatment of roads has proved effective in reducing air pollution in other cities across Europe.
Due to the use of wood for heating during winter, air quality across Macedonia got worse. Car and industrial pollution, as well as construction, contributed to the high levels of PM10 particles in Skopje, Bitola, Tetovo and Kavadarci.
Air pollution is a significant problem in specific locations in Macedonia. According to observations from the system of air quality monitoring stations in Macedonia, particulate matter concentrations have repeatedly exceeded EU standards.
Industrial and energy production is concentrated in several specific locations in Macedonia. The composition of production falls into sectors such as energy, metallurgy, construction, oil refining and textiles.