live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 4 US AQI||SO2|
|SO2|| 6.9 µg/m³|
|Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors|
|Enjoy outdoor activities|
|Thursday, Jun 17|
Good 3 US AQI
|Friday, Jun 18|
Good 3 US AQI
|Saturday, Jun 19|
Good 3 US AQI
Good 3 US AQI
|Monday, Jun 21|
Moderate 89 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jun 22|
Moderate 66 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jun 23|
Moderate 70 US AQI
|Thursday, Jun 24|
Moderate 96 US AQI
|Friday, Jun 25|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 103 US AQI
|Saturday, Jun 26|
Good 36 US AQI
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Pljevlja is a city located in the northern region of Montenegro, being at the center of the Pljevlja municipality, and having a high altitude, some 2530 feet above sea level. In regards to its air quality, Pljevlja has seen some very poor readings of pollution come in over the past few years, with certain times of the year bringing sizeable PM2.5 readings, whilst other times have a considerably cleaner quality of air.
To cite some better examples before moving onto the more polluted ones, in May of 2021, Pljevlja was seen with a US AQI reading of only 21, placing it in the ‘good’ air quality ratings category. This requires a US AQI reading of anywhere between 0 to 50, and would present little to no issues amongst the general population, along with even vulnerable individuals being safe to participate in outdoor activities or exercise (both of which are advised against during spells of high pollution, in order to safeguard against the highly negative effects that certain chemicals or hazardous particles can have on the health of those exposed).
This ‘good’ rated air quality reading is color coded as green, and is the lowest one that can be found on the US AQI ratings bracket, indicating that the month of May is a time when Pljevlja enjoys a considerably better level of air quality, free from smoke and haze and other contaminating elements. According to guidelines set out by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), any US AQI reading between 0 to 150 is deemed as ‘acceptable’, with readings above that moving into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket (color coded as red) and indicating a level of pollution that would be of great harm to vulnerable individuals, with even the general population and healthy individuals starting to experience negative respiratory symptoms.
As mentioned, May is a month that has a better level of air quality both in Pljevlja and in other cities on record in Montenegro. Referring to the US AQI level, it is a figure aggregated from the volume of several main pollutants found in the air, namely ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), as well as particle pollution, both PM2.5 and PM10.
PM2.5 is the far more dangerous of the two, being considered as one of the most harmful pollutants out of all of the ones mentioned above (although they all have their own negative health effects when exposure is excessive). Its ultrafine size of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter makes it able to penetrate deep into the tissue of the lungs, causing ill health effects such as inflammation, scarring, as well as entering the bloodstream via the tiny air sacs, or alveoli in the lungs. Once in the bloodstream they can cause severe health issues, damaging many systems throughout the body. As such, beyond the US AQI measurement, PM2.5 is a prominent measure in its own right, often used for calculating yearly averages or pollution levels from months past.
As a closing example, in 2020, Pljevlja came in with a PM2.5 yearly average of 28.9 μg/m³, placing it in the ‘moderate’ air pollution ratings bracket. This requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such, and much like its US AQI counterpart, is color coded as yellow on both air quality maps and graphs, for ease of reference and navigation on the IQAir website.
Whilst the US AQI level is calculated from the volume of the above mentioned pollutants, PM2.5 is measured in micrograms per meter cubed (μg/m³ as shown above). This reading place Pljevlja in 1st place out of all cities currently ranked in Montenegro, as well as in 422nd place out of all cities ranked worldwide, as of 2020. This is indicative that Pljevlja does indeed have many pollutive issues that it needs to address.
Health risks that would arise during certain periods of higher air pollution would typically involve issues of the lung and heart, or the pulmonary and cardiac system. As mentioned, scarring of the lungs can occur, along with inflammation when certain materials or chemicals are inhaled. This can lead to a reduction in full air intake, leading to serious health issues in young children whose mental and physical growth can be stunted by such events. Asthma attacks can be triggered, along with the aggravation or development of illnesses that fall under the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) bracket, with pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema included.
Other serious issues include heightened rates of cancer, heart attacks, ischemic heart disease, strokes, and even death, with many deaths linked every year to pollution exposure, highlighting the need to not only reduce individual exposure, but also to reduce the emissions present in the air.
Observing the air quality data taken from 2020, it can be seen that Pljevlja was subject to the highest levels of air pollution over the beginning and end of the year. This indicates a pattern whereby the air pollution levels start to rise at years end, and continue into the early months of the following year. January, February, November and December all had the highest readings, with January coming in on top with a sizeable PM2.5 reading of 130.5 μg/m³.
The air would be at its safest to breathe in the months of May through to September, going off of the air quality data collected from 2020 once again. May came in with a ‘good’ air quality reading of 11.5 μg/m³, whilst the next four months came in with extremely good readings that fell within the world health organization's (WHO's) target goal of 10 μg/m³ or less, for the best quality of air. This indicates that June through to September has an exceptionally clean quality of air, especially when compared to January’s reading.
Other pollutants found in Pljevlja beyond the main ones used to calculate the overall US AQI number would be ones such as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), both of which are formed from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, as well as organic material.
The burning of coal and diesel in both factories, power plants and vehicles would emit both of these, along with dioxins and furans. Some examples of VOCs include chemicals such as benzene, toluene, xylene and methylene chloride.