The central heating season in Serbia starts in less than a month, but judging by the weather forecast, it is almost certain that many people start heating their homes earlier than that. The beginning of the heating season, unfortunately, in Serbia for years also means the beginning of the season of extremely polluted air, experts warn.
Air pollution expert Dejan Lekić of the National Environmental Association (NEA) tells Blic daily that winter in Serbia is known for extremely high levels of pollution, mainly from suspended particles PM2.5 and PM10, caused by the combined impact of heating, traffic and industry, and for human health, due to the heavy metals they contain, they represent the most dangerous pollutant.
“During the heating season, which lasts 182 days, the PM particle limits permitted by law are exceeded at many measuring points. To make matters worse, the number of days on which the average daily limit value was exceeded in some places exceeded 80 per cent of the observed period. Thus, in Novi Pazar, on 82 per cent of days, the daily limit of PM particles was exceeded, in Valjevo 81 per cent, Užice 63, Kosjerić 59, and Veliki Crljenima 52 per cent of heating season days,” says Lekić.
The air pollution monitoring showed that, at the same time, the average values of PM2.5 particles at almost all measuring points during the heating season were above 25 micrograms per cubic metre, which is the legally defined annual limit and the lowest limit for the classification of air quality in the ‘bad’ category according to the EU Air Quality Index.
“It should be noted that here we are dealing with data from the state’s monitoring, which ‘covers’ only 12 out of 29 cities with a population of over 50,000. Hence, more than one million people living in bigger towns, such as Subotica, Leskovac, Kruševac and Vranje, do not actually have official information on air quality in real-time in their respective towns. Unofficially, based on the data collected by analysers that people use on their windows and terraces, the situation is very similar, if not worse, in all other places,’ says Lekić.
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