live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 59 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Tbilisi is currently 3.2 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Close your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air|
|Sensitive groups should reduce outdoor exercise|
|Saturday, Aug 13|
Moderate 63 US AQI
|Sunday, Aug 14|
Moderate 61 US AQI
|Monday, Aug 15|
Moderate 60 US AQI
Moderate 59 US AQI
|Wednesday, Aug 17|
Moderate 62 US AQI
|Thursday, Aug 18|
Moderate 71 US AQI
|Friday, Aug 19|
Moderate 100 US AQI
|Saturday, Aug 20|
Unhealthy 182 US AQI
|Sunday, Aug 21|
Unhealthy 175 US AQI
|Monday, Aug 22|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 140 US AQI
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Tbilisi (known by its pre-1936 name Tiflis in some languages) is the capital and the largest city of Georgia. It straddles the banks of the Kura River and has a 2019 population of approximately 1.5 million people. Because of its strategic position between Europe and Asia Tbilisi has always been a busy transportation hub, especially with its proximity to the Silk Road.
At the start of 2021, Tbilisi was experiencing a period of “Moderate” quality air with a US AQI reading of 77. This is in line with the classification suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The levels of the measured pollutants were as follows: PM2.5 - 24.4 µg/m³ and PM10 - 40 µg/m³. With relatively high levels such as these, the advice is to close doors and windows to prevent the ingress of dirty air into the room and those of a sensitive disposition should avoid outdoor activities until the air quality improves. If venturing outside is unavoidable then a good quality face mask should be worn.
As with most large towns and cities, the main source of air pollution comes from vehicle exhausts.
The World Health Organisation has released data on air pollution in 4,300 cities and 108 countries. Research shows that the air in the majority of European capitals contains tiny solid particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) for which the recommended concentration ratio (the European standard is 25 µg/m³) is considerably higher. The worst situation in this regard is in the Turkish capital of Ankara, the Macedonian capital Skopje and the Georgian capital Tbilisi. In Tallinn, Stockholm and Dublin, the air is the least polluted. Tbilisi ranks third in Europe in terms of air pollution.
The WHO urges countries to reduce air pollution to the level of the average annual figures. The recommended levels are PM10- 20 µg/m³ and PM2.5 -10 µg/m³.
The second source of pollution comes from industrial emissions.
Vehicle emissions account for 71 per cent of total emissions and at the same time, 37 per cent of the country's vehicles are concentrated in Tbilisi. The number of both transit and permanent vehicles in the capital is much higher, as a large part of the country's population operates in Tbilisi and is mainly related to vehicle operation.
According to a recent report, the rate of air pollution in Tbilisi exceeds the norm by 300 per cent. It went on to say that every ninth person in the world dies from polluted air: 36 per cent suffer from lung cancer, 34 per cent from stroke, 27 per cent from heart disease, and 35 per cent from chronic lung disease. In Georgia, on average, 3741 people die as a result of air pollution each year.
According to the WHO, Tbilisi is one of the most polluted cities in the world. Pollution in Tbilisi is 2.9 times higher than the norm. For comparison: in Washington (USA) pollution is 10 per cent below the norm; In Madrid (Spain) is equal to the norm; In Riga (Latvia) exceeds the norm by 70 per cent; In Brussels (Belgium) it is 80 per cent higher than the norm.
According to the Tbilisi City Hall, public transport will be replaced by new, modern means as soon as possible, however, during the initial hearings, it remained unclear whether there is an old, so-called Yellow bus, utilisation plan. The bulk of the yellow buses fail to meet the standard and are one of the major sources of air pollution. Thus, after replacement, these unsuitable buses should be removed from use (if not suitable for repair) and should not be moved to other cities in Georgia.
It should be noted that more than 90 per cent of the country’s vehicle fleet is vehicles older than 10 years, which is a serious problem. However, a thematic study noted that owners of large, powerful engine vehicles often install a gas system. These systems are mostly faulty, emit more emissions and pollute the environment even more. According to the opinion expressed, cars older than five years should be subject to stricter customs clearance conditions, which could include an increase in customs duties. It is also advisable to impose a higher fee on vehicles with large engines, to discourage their purchase.
UNICEF recently released a new report, according to which 17 million children under the age of one in the world breathe toxic air. It stated that polluted air not only damages a child's underdeveloped lungs, but can also damage their undeveloped brain and, consequently, their future.
The first thousand days of life are especially important for the future development of the baby because during this period the newborn’s brain is in the process of most critical and rapid growth. Consequently, the risk is high. The report lists the ways in which toxic air can damage a newborn’s brain. Risks affect more or less all countries, but the problem is especially acute in developing countries, including Georgia. According to the World Health Organisation, air pollution in Tbilisi is almost 3 times higher than the allowable norm.
Contaminated small particles reach the bloodstream and damage the thin membrane that protects the brain from toxins and can cause inflammation of nerve endings. Similar damage in adults has been linked to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's in a number of studies. Some contaminated particles, such as magnetites, are so small that they reach the body through the olfactory nerve and intestines, which may lead to neurodegenerative diseases.
Numerous studies have shown that PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), which damage the white matter of the brain, are particularly abundant near car-laden highways and in large cities. White matter is crucial in the communication of neurons between different areas of the brain, which is fundamental to a child's ability to assimilate and develop.
Studies show that there is a direct link between air pollution and a child's cognitive development. This applies to neurological, psychological and behavioural problems, the child's memory, learning success, verbal and nonverbal IQ.