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|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 52* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Tirana is currently 2.5 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Moderate 52 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Good 44 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Good 25 AQI US
|Friday, Dec 8|
Good 26 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 9|
Good 40 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 10|
Moderate 57 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 11|
Moderate 63 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 12|
Moderate 68 AQI US
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Tirana is the capital and largest city of Albania. It is located towards the centre of the country and is surrounded by mountains. According to a census conducted in 2011, the estimated population was approximately 557,422 people.
During the month of September, Tirana was experiencing a period of “Good” quality air with a US AQI reading of 45. This United States Air Quality Index number is calculated using the levels of six of the most commonly found air pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide and both sizes of particulate matter, being PM2.5 and PM10. It can then be used as the metric when comparing air quality in other cities around the world. If data is unavailable for all 6 pollutants, a figure can still be calculated by using what figures there are. For Tirana, the only figure which was recorded was that of PM2.5 which was 11 µg/m³. This relatively low number is only slightly above the target figure of 10 µg/m³ as suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO). But at this level, doors and windows can be safely opened and all types of outdoor activity can be enjoyed without worry. For up-to-date information about air quality, there is an app available from AirVisual which is downloadable for all mobile devices.
Air quality can be very volatile and is liable to change very quickly as it is affected by many variables such as meteorological and atmospheric influences.
Looking back at the 2020 figures published by IQAir.com, it can easily be seen that the best quality air was enjoyed during May and June with respective figures of 8.8 and 8.9 µg/m³, which were below the target level from the WHO. October provided “Good” quality air with a reading of 10.4 µg/m³ whilst for the rest of the year, the level was “Moderate” with readings between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³. The cleanest month being July with a 12.9 µg/m³ figure. The worst was January with a 35.2 µg/m³ reading.
There were no records kept pertaining to air pollution before 2020 when the recorded level was 16 µg/m³, which classifies as being “Moderate”. This reading may have been affected by the COVID-19 situation as many vehicles were no longer in daily use in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus. Many factories and non-essential production units were also required to close which removed their emissions from the atmosphere.
Air pollution is one of the main environmental problems in major Albanian cities, especially in Tirana. Pollution has come as a result of the increase of cars, reduction of urban greenery, burning of garbage, economic activities of enterprises, use of substandard fuels, etc. The concentration of PM10 and nitrogen dioxide particles in Tirana exceeds the national standards and those of the World Health Organisation.
The reason for the pollution comes mainly from vehicle emissions where old diesel vehicles remain problematic. No less important contribution to the increase of the concentration of these particles in the air is given by the construction sites and the reconstruction of the roads. They are one of the air pollutants that cause serious problems in human health.
Numerous constructions in developed urban centres and public transport with an outdated fleet of buses are the main causes of heavy traffic on almost all major roads, which translates into air pollution from cars and new "skyscrapers" that are emerging. in any free green space.
Other sources of air pollution in the Western Balkans include the use of coal for energy production, the burning of coal and wood for heating in buildings and commercial buildings, industrial emissions, waste incineration, agricultural and construction activities and diesel generators. These sources are the main sources of origin for solid particles (PM2.5 and PM10), ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide and heavy metals, which are responsible globally for millions of premature deaths each year.
Poor air quality in the Western Balkans puts the region at the top of Europe's most polluted areas and reduces public health performance. Countries in the region are most at risk because air pollution combined with lower levels of economic development, poverty and below-average health care systems add to the situation, creating a more deadly situation.
From April 2018 until today in the framework of the Green Lung project funded by the European Union, Milieukontakt Albania and Co-Plan have monitored air quality in 84 different stations in the city of Tirana, monitoring which will be extended even further over the next two years covering almost the entire area within the great ring road in Tirana.
After the first year of field measurements, the data was analysed to identify problem areas, where the level of pollution exceeds the EU and Albanian standard norms, exactly in 7 stations for PM2.5 and 84 stations for carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and volatile organic components (VOCs). The rest of the measured parameters (PM2.5, PM10, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and ozone were within European standards.
Even healthy people can experience health effects from polluted air including airway irritation associated with difficulty breathing, Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath especially during walking, exercise or other outdoor activities. High levels of air pollution can cause immediate health problems, including: worsening of cardiovascular disease. Exacerbation of respiratory diseases by increasing the load on the heart and lungs, which must work harder to supply the body with oxygen that will consequently have damaged cells in the respiratory system.
People most susceptible to serious health problems from air pollution are individuals with heart disease, coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure, individuals with lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pregnant women, outdoor workers, senior citizens, children under 14 and athletes who train hard outside. People in these groups may experience health impacts at lower levels of air pollution exposure, or their health effects may be more intense.