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|1||Zemun, Central serb|
|2||Vracar, Central serb|
|3||Subotica, Autonomna Pokrajina Vojvodina|
|4||Nis, Central Serbia|
|5||Belgrade, Central Serbia|
|6||Kraljevo, Central Serbia|
|7||Vozdovac, Central serb|
|8||Zvezdara, Central serb|
|9||Savski Venac, Central serb|
|10||Kragujevac, Central Serbia|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
|1||Beograd Despota Stefana|
|8||Belgrade - Stari grad|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
8:00, Dec 1
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 45 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Belgrade is currently 2.2 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
| Enjoy outdoor activities|
| Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors|
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|Tuesday, Nov 28|
Good 38 AQI US
|Wednesday, Nov 29|
Moderate 66 AQI US
|Thursday, Nov 30|
Moderate 67 AQI US
Good 45 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 2|
Good 50 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 3|
Good 49 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 4|
Moderate 51 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Moderate 63 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Moderate 61 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Moderate 76 AQI US
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Belgrade is the capital city of Serbia, also holding the title of being the largest city in the country. It has a population in excess of 1.16 million people, as per a census conducted in 2011 and thus will be out of date, with the population potentially having grown significantly since. There are over 1.7 million people living within the administrative limits of the city, making it home to approximately 25% of the entire country.
Belgrade sees some serious problems occurring with its air quality, coming in with a US AQI reading of 101 in the beginning of April 2021, placing it amongst the top most polluted cities ranked worldwide, as well as warranting a ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ rating as per its US AQI reading, a rating that as the name indicates can present a large number of health issues for the entire population, with particular groups being especially vulnerable.
Looking at some concise long term air quality data collected over the course of 2020, Belgrade came in with a PM2.5 reading of 24.3 μg/m³ as its yearly average. PM2.5 refers to particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, and is one of the major components used in the calculation of the previously mentioned AQI, or air quality index. This reading of 24.3 μg/m³ placed Belgrade in 590th place out of all cities ranked worldwide in 2020, an extremely high ranking. Recordings of air quality taken from 2017 up till 2020 all show similar yearly averages, rarely straying more than 1 unit away from the above mentioned reading.
This reading for 2020 placed it within the higher end of the ‘moderate’ ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. It can be determined that Belgrade has much to do to improve upon the quality of its air if it is to see any prominent improvements in the coming years.
Belgrade has many causes of pollution that contribute to its consistently poor pollution readings. Meteorological factors such as lack of wind or rain during certain months can lead to large accumulations of haze, smog and other poisonous air contaminants.
These accumulations all have their own specific sources, and ones such as vehicular fumes, the burning of firewood and charcoal at homes (particularly prominent during the colder months) as well as the heavy use of coal and other fossil fuels at power plants and factories all being major sources. This causes the air to be permeated with high amounts of dangerous chemical compounds as well as particulate matter, being of the ultrafine variety (PM2.5) as well as the larger or more coarse particles (PM10). Both of these can cause all manner of health issues, with the smaller particles being the most lethal due to their ability to penetrate deep within the lung tissue and enter the bloodstream.
Unregulated, or at least poorly regulated emissions from all manner of industrial facilities, aged vehicles running on lower quality fuel as well as the burning of organic material all contribute to the extremely high pollution levels. Other factors such as lack of air cleaning initiatives and responsibility also play a part, as well as the previously mentioned weather conditions compounding the situation further during certain months of the year.
Getting a clearer idea of when the pollution levels are at their lowest may help individuals as well as tourists or travelers get a better idea of when outdoor activities carry with them the least amount of risk. Periods of high pollution are often indicative of being a time when outdoor activity should be limited, particularly when strenuous activity is involved, due to the higher rate of breathing causing more dangerous pollutants to be inhaled.
Citing some of the cleanest months recorded over 2020, May through to September is when the air quality saw the lowest readings of PM2.5. April was when the pollution levels started to fall, with a reading of 19.4 μg/m³ in April being followed by a much improved reading of 11.6 μg/m³ in May. June also came in with an appreciable reading of 10.4 μg/m³, putting both May and June into the ‘good’ air quality ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of 10 to 12 μg/m³ to be classified as such, making for a very fine margin of entry, as well as being only a few units away from the WHO's target goal of 10 μg/m³ or less.
July through to September also came in with readings of 12.3 μg/m³, 12.2 μg/m³ and 12 μg/m³ respectively. This indicated that there were three months out of the year that came in with a ‘good’ air quality reading, with June being the cleanest with its reading of 10.4 μg/m³. Of note is that whilst these are fairly reliable indicators of air cleanliness to go by, each year may be subject to fluctuations in air pollution levels for a number of factors (natural or manmade disasters, change in weather conditions and all manner of similar occurrences).
To contrast with the previous question and quickly mention when the most polluted months took place over 2020, the months of January to March, as well as October to December came in with the highest readings of PM2.5.
Out of all these months, March, November and January all came in with the highest pollution readings, listed as they were in order of pollution level. These readings were 30.5 μg/m³, 36.7 μg/m³ and 67.3 μg/m³ respectively, making January by far the most polluted month of the year (some 6 times higher than the cleanest month) and enough to make it into the ‘unhealthy’ air quality bracket, meaning that the air would be permeated with smog, haze and all manner of smoke to make the air extremely dangerous to breathe.
There are a number of main pollutants that individuals should be conscious of, both in Belgrade and any city or country around the world. These include the previously mentioned fine particles of both PM2.5 and PM10, as well as other contaminants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2).
Others include carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), black carbon, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as all manner of highly dangerous materials released from certain industrial or factory areas, with heavy metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium being found, as well as dioxins, furans and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's).
Some examples of VOCs include chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene and toluene, with many more being found that have carcinogenic and nervous system disrupting properties, highlighting the danger that is posed for those who live in a city that is blanketed by haze for much of the year.
4 Data sources