(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
|2||Embassy of Sweden in Pristina|
|4||US Embassy in Pristina|
|5||IPKO Kodra e Trimave - Vranjevc|
|6||IPKO Lagjja Dodona|
|8||ASI - Prishtina High School|
|10||IPKO Kodra e Diellit|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups|| 102 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 35.8 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Pristina air is currently 7.2 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Monday, Jan 17|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 139 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jan 18|
Good 49 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jan 19|
Moderate 71 US AQI
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 102 US AQI
|Friday, Jan 21|
Good 21 US AQI
|Saturday, Jan 22|
Good 31 US AQI
|Sunday, Jan 23|
Good 48 US AQI
|Monday, Jan 24|
Moderate 51 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jan 25|
Moderate 53 US AQI
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The capital city of landlocked Kosovo in the centre of eastern Europe, Pristina experiences some of the worst air pollution found in Europe. This is largely due to air pollution emissions coming from two coal-fired power plants located close to the capital, on which the country relies for a substantial amount of their power supply, in addition high rates of indoor solid fuel burning, such as wood and coal. While Pristina’s air quality regulation and policies are generally less stringent than some found in some western European countries, the city and Kosovo are actively working on improving air pollution management, in particular in order to support the country’s potential accession to the European Union.
The main pollutants of concern in Pristina are particulate matter, which describes tiny microscopic airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 or 10 microns in diameter, abbreviated as PM2.5 or PM10 respectively. This type of pollution is particularly hazardous to human health, both due to its common presence coming from a range of widespread sources affecting populations globally, as well as these particles’ miniscule size enabling them to travel deep into the human system once inhaled, causing a wide range of health effects.
Live air pollution information can be viewed in the Pristina air quality map at the top of this page, along with a 7-day Pristina air quality forecast.
According to IQAir’s 2019 World Air Quality Report, Pristina ranked as the world’s 30th most polluted capital city for PM2.5 pollution, out of a list of 85 global capitals. Pristina’s annual average PM2.5 concentration during that year emerged as 23.5 μg/m3, which exceeds the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s annual standard for PM2.5 (10 μg/m3) more than twofold. Furthermore, Pristina also emerged as the 3rd most polluted capital city within Europe, following the air quality in Sarajevo (34.1 μg/m3) in Bosnia & Herzegovina, and the Bulgarian capital Sofia’s air pollution from PM2.5 (26.8 μg/m3).
Within Kosovo, 10 different cities were reported in IQAir’s 2019 report, with Pristina ranking as the country’s 3rd most polluted city. The most polluted city in Kosovo emerged as the air quality in Prizren (26.0 μg/m3), followed by the town of Kosovo Polje’s air pollution (25.8 μg/m3). Meanwhile, Kosovo’s cleanest location was the town of Glogovac, averaging 15.6 μg/m3 during 2019.1
Exposure to air pollution can result in a wide range of short- and long-term health effects. Short-term exposure to air pollution can cause respiratory symptoms such as coughing, the irritation of eyes, nose and throat, and aggravation of existing conditions such as asthma. Long-term exposure to air pollution can pose more severe risks, such as increased risk of developing diseases such as lung, trachea and bronchial cancer, ischemic heart disease (IHD), stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which describe a group of conditions causing difficulty breathing, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.2 Ultimately, these conditions can contribute to increased mortality and death from air pollution.
The World Bank estimates that Kosovo’s air pollution contributed toward 760 premature deaths in the country, with 11% of these occurring within Pristina (equating to around 84 annual deaths in the capital). Of these nationwide deaths, around 90% are estimated to be caused by ischemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke. This overall burden of premature air pollution-associated deaths in Kosovo is predominantly borne by people aged 50 to 59 years old (approximately 45%), with those next most affected within the age bracket of 70 and older.2
The major contributors to ambient air pollution affecting Pristina include emissions from coal-fired power plants providing much of the country’s energy supply, smoke from residential burning of solid fuels (such as coal and wood), as well as transport. The burning of solid fuels is a significant issue contributing to Pristina’s air pollution, and offers an opportunity for future policies regulating the types of fuel and stoves permitted for heating in Kosovo to make a positive impact on air quality. An estimated 80-85% of all heating in Kosovo comes from burning firewood, and accordingly, PM2.5 emissions from this source tend to increase during the colder winter months.3
Kosovo’s two large coal-fired power stations, known as Kosova A and Kosova B, are located in the town of Obilic, a short 10 kilometres north-west from Pristina. These power stations have an installed capacity of 1.4 gigawatts of energy, providing an important energy source in a country that experiences inconsistent energy supply.4 However, the coal origins of this power pose significant health hazards in the form of air pollution. Kosova A and B represent two of Europe’s most polluting coal plants within Europe, with Kosova A producing the most PM2.5 emissions across the continent (4,851 tonnes) and Kosova B ranking as Europe’s 3rd most polluting plant, emitting 2,687 tonnes of PM2.5 annually.4 The European NGO ‘Health and Environment Alliance’ (HEAL) estimates that air pollution from Kosovo’s power plants alone contributes towards 370 premature deaths across the country, resulting in health costs of 144 to 352 million euros (equivalent to approximately $175 to $428 million USD) per year. Previously, plans were underway backed by the World Bank to develop a new power station, Kosova C. However, in light of broad criticism of the negative environmental and health impacts of the pollution from Kosovo’s existing coal plants, the World Bank withdrew its support in 2018, and eventually these plans were dropped in 2020.5 Alternative sources of additional energy supply are instead being developed, including a large wind farm project funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.6
The Kosovo government has established a network of 12 air quality monitoring stations around the country. While the real-time data from these stations was not always easily accessible to the public, this network was added to the European Environment Agency’s ‘European air quality index’ data platform in late 2020.7 The stations from this network closest to Pristina are located at Obilic, Dardhishte, and Palaj.
Meanwhile, several other organisations and members of the Pristina community have also become involved in measuring and raising awareness of air pollution in Pristina. This notably includes the United States’ State Department establishing an air quality monitor at their Pristina US Embassy in 2016, which drew attention to Pristina’s air quality issues. Subequently, several other organisations and citizen scientists also deployed larger networks of community air quality sensors around the capital and broader Kosovo. Real-time data from these community sensors are included within the Pristina air quality map at the top of this page, to present a real-time picture of Pristina’s air pollution using the widest set of data sources available.
+ Article resources
 IQAir. “2019 World Air Quality Report”. IQAir website, March 18, 2020.
 The World Bank. “Air Pollution Management in Kosovo”. World Bank website, October, 2019.
 Antigona Ukëhaxhaj et al. “Air Pollution in Pristina, Influence on Cardiovascular Hospital Morbidity”. Medical Archives 67(6): 438-441. December 28, 2013. DOI: 10.5455/medarh.2013.67.438-441
 HEAL. “The Unpaid Health Bill: How coal power plants in Kosovo make us sick”. The Health and Environment Alliance website. March, 2016.
 Xhorxhina Bami, Eve-anne Travers. “Construction of Coal-Fired Power Plant in Kosovo Halted”. Balkan Insight, March 17, 2020.
 Reuters. “EBRD to lend 58 million euros to build Kosovo’s biggest wind farm”. Reuters, December 16, 2019.
 Kosovo Environmental Protection Agency (KEPA). “Kosovo in the European Network of the Air Quality Index”. KEPA website, November 19, 2020.