The air pollution issue in Serbia continued throughout 2023, with the Environmental Protection Agency publishing monthly reports on the amount of PM10 particles in the air which exceeded the allowed levels in different cities.
Summarising the 12 monthly reports of the Agency from 2023, N1 generated the list of the most polluted places/cities in Serbia.
Popovac tops the list, with 137 days of the increased level of PM10 particles in the air. This place is also the only one in Serbia where the air was polluted every month in 2023.
In May, Popovac was the only place in the whole country that, according to the Agency report, had more than 50 micrograms per cubic meter of PM10 particles for 14 days.
List of 10 cities with the highest number of days with more than 50 micrograms of PM10 particles per cubic meter measured in 2023:
Popovac – 137 days
Novi Pazar – 118 days
Valjevo – 118 days
Užice – 91 days
Kosjerić – 75 days
Smederevo – 71 days
Niš – 67 days
Pirot – 56 days
Obrenovac – 49 days
Kragujevac – 49 days
Due to their small size, PM10 particles can reach the tiny bronchioles or alveoli in our lungs where they do the most damage.
When exposure to PM10 particles is between medium to high levels, some of the possible health effects include shortness of breath, asthmatics experience bronchoconstriction (narrowing of the trachea), eye, nose and throat irritation, excessive coughing and wheezing, reduced lung function and disease lungs, decreased heart function, sometimes leads to heart attack, asthmatic attacks, cancer, death.
On the other hand, a large number of cities in Serbia face, especially in the summer, a high presence of ground-level ozone (a colourless and highly irritating gas that forms just above the earth’s surface).
The highest number of days in 2023 with at least eight hours of ground-level ozone a day was measured on the Kopaonik Mountain.
The list of places in Serbia with the highest number of days of ground-level ozone last year is the following:
Kopaonik – 32 days
Kamenički vis – 29 days
Smederevo – 24 days
Belgrade – Zeleno Brdo – 23 days
Belgrade – Novi Beograd – 21 days
Čačak – 21 days
Kikinda – 20 days
Novi Sad – Liman – 16 days
High concentrations of ground-level ozone can cause various health problems.
The most vulnerable are people who already have some chronic diseases and who otherwise experience health problems when the air is polluted.
The most vulnerable groups are asthmatics, children and elderly people, especially those who are active outside, people who do sports, and foreign workers who work outside all day.
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