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|9||Gjorce Petro, Opstina Gjorce Petrov|
|10||Mavrovo and Rostuse, Polog|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
|1||Bitola 1 UHMR|
|2||Bitola 2 Strezevo|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 25 US AQI||O3|
PM2.5 concentration in Bitola is currently 1.1 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Friday, Mar 24|
Moderate 69 US AQI
|Saturday, Mar 25|
Good 48 US AQI
|Sunday, Mar 26|
Good 32 US AQI
Good 25 US AQI
|Tuesday, Mar 28|
Good 18 US AQI
|Wednesday, Mar 29|
Good 11 US AQI
|Thursday, Mar 30|
Good 16 US AQI
|Friday, Mar 31|
Good 18 US AQI
|Saturday, Apr 1|
Good 23 US AQI
|Sunday, Apr 2|
Good 10 US AQI
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Bitola is a city in the south western part of North Macedonia. It is surrounded by the Baba, Nidže and Kajmakčalan mountains and is in the southern part of the Pelargonia Valley. According to a census which was conducted in 2002. Bitola had an estimated population of approximately 75,000 people.
Towards the middle of 2021, Bitola was experiencing a period of “Moderate” quality air with a US AQI reading of 57. This United States Air Quality Index is a globally recognised system that allows the comparison of air quality between different locations using the same metrics to get a true idea. Usually, data is collected about the six most common air pollutants and this US AQI number is calculated from there. However, if figures for all six are not available, the number can still be calculated using what figures there are. When the calculations were made for Bitola, there were five recordings available which were as follows: PM2.5 - 15.1 µg/m³, PM10 - 30.4 µg/m³, ozone (O3) - 60.9 µg/m³, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - 10.7 µg/m³ and sulphur dioxide (SO2) - 2.5 µg/m³.
With levels such as these, the advice is to close doors and windows to prevent the ingress of more polluted air. Those of a sensitive disposition are advised to remain indoors or if travel outside is unavoidable, then a good quality mask is recommended. The table published at the top of this page will help with the decision.
According to the figures published in 2020, the best time of year for air quality is during the month of June when Bitola achieved the WHO target figure of less than 10 µg/m³. The figure recorded was 8 µg/m³. The previous month of May saw a “Good” figure of 11.7 µg/m³. Other than that, March and April, December and the months of July through until the end of October resulted in “Moderate” quality air with figures between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³. The two worst months were February and November when the air quality hit the “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” classification with figures of 45.2 and 42 µg/m³, respectively.
There were no records kept before 2020 when the average mean figure was recorded as being 25.9 µg/m³. However, this figure may be artificially low because of the restrictions put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bitola is an industrial city, located close to the Greek border. Bitola 1 station is located in the outskirts of the city with nearby minor industries like the production of food and beverages. The major air pollutant source in Bitola is the REK Bitola power plant located 13 km east of the Bitola 1 station. Measured components are: ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and PM10. This thermal power plant emits about 2,700 tons of PM2.5 particles in the air per year, making it the second largest in Europe, just behind the Kosovo A thermal power plant near Pristina. REK Bitola is at the top of Europe according to the emission of sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide with about 67,000 tons per year.
Coal-fired power plants release thousands of tons of harmful substances into the air each year. There are as many as seven out of 10 such thermal power plants in the Western Balkans region, which are estimated to be the biggest air pollutants in Europe.
On paper, in the country, electricity is relatively cheap. However, the production of such cheap electricity comes at a more expensive price, the one that is measured in the number of lives lost and the number of patients.
It has been suggested that in the EU by 2040 the production of electricity from coal should be completely excluded. The same recommendation applies to the Balkan countries.
In March last year, the Government announced a tender for procurement and installation of new electrostatic precipitators in REK Bitola. The investment is estimated at 20.4m euros. Existing electrostatic precipitators were made in 1979 and reconstructed and modernised after 1989.
With this modernisation of the whole system, from the existing standards which are 100 milligrams per normal cubic meter of dust emissions will be reduced by less than 20 milligrams per cubic meter which is a European standard and will contribute to much greater environmental protection.
With this thorough reconstruction of the system of electrostatic precipitators, with proper treatment of the ash coming from the production, with the spraying of those fields, with the application of quality excavation and transport of coal and everything that means meeting environmental standards.
Air pollution exposure is related to numerous effects on the human health including impairments to the lungs, the heart, blood vessels and the nervous system. Health effects can vary from person to person. High risk groups, such as seniors, young children, pregnant women and those suffering from chronic heart and lung diseases are more sensitive to air pollution. Children especially have a higher risk of exposure, due to their out-of-home activities, and the still developing lungs. Air pollution exposure can cause acute and chronic health effects. The acute effects usually occur immediately and are often reversible once the pollution exposure ends.
Chronic effects usually do not occur immediately and are not often reversible once the exposure to the pollutant has ended. Some of the chronic effects are reduced lung capacity and lung cancer, as a result of the long-term exposure to toxic air pollutants. The scientific techniques to assess health effects of air pollution include air pollution monitoring, exposure assessment, dosimetry, toxicology and epidemiology.
Although, in humans, the pollutants may affect the skin, eyes and other systems, they mainly affect the respiratory system. Air is inhaled through the nose, which acts as a primary filtering system. Small hairs and the warm, humid environment in the nose effectively remove larger pollutant particles. The air passes through the larynx, oesophagus and pharynx before reaching the entrance of the trachea. The trachea is divided into two parts, left and right bronchus. Each bronchus is divided into smaller component parts. The smallest of them are called bronchioles and contain millions of air sacs called alveolus. Bronchi and alveoli jointly create the lungs.
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