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|1||Shymkent, Ongtustik Qazaqstan|
|6||Ust-Kamenogorsk, East Kazakhstan|
|7||Almaty, Almaty Qalasy|
|9||Pervomayka, Almaty Oblysy|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
|3||Almaty - Kamenskoe Plateau|
|6||Kazakhstan International School|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 50 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Almaty is currently 2.4 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Sunday, Sep 24|
Moderate 52 AQI US
|Monday, Sep 25|
Moderate 65 AQI US
|Tuesday, Sep 26|
Moderate 68 AQI US
Good 50 AQI US
|Thursday, Sep 28|
Good 30 AQI US
|Friday, Sep 29|
Good 37 AQI US
|Saturday, Sep 30|
Good 35 AQI US
|Sunday, Oct 1|
Good 47 AQI US
|Monday, Oct 2|
Moderate 59 AQI US
|Tuesday, Oct 3|
Moderate 63 AQI US
|Wednesday, Oct 4|
Moderate 66 AQI US
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The city of Almaty was formerly known as Alma-Ata and also as Verny. It is the largest city in Kazakhstan with an approximate population of 2 million people. It is situated in the mountainous area in the south of the country, very close to the border with Kyrgyzstan.
At the beginning of 2021, the air quality index in Almaty was “Unhealthy” with a US AQI reading of 169. This classification is based on recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The recorded concentrations of the pollutants are as follows: PM2.5 - 89.8 µg/m³, PM10 - 110.9 µg/m³, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), - 52.4 µg/m³, sulphur dioxide (SO2) - 5.7 µg/m³ and carbon monoxide (CO) - 35.5 µg/m³. With levels such as these, the advice is to wear a good quality mask when going outside. Close doors and windows to prevent the ingress of dirty air into the home and run an air purifier if one is available. All forms of outdoor exercise should be avoided until the air quality improves.
The main sources of pollution in Almaty comes from the exhausts from vehicles, the emissions from coal-fired power plants, the dust caused by the construction industry and urban planning.
According to statistics, Almaty is the most polluted city in Kazakhstan. The main reason is the large number of cars. In fact, in 2011 Almaty was registered as one of the 25 most polluted cities in the world. However, since then, no measures have been taken to protect the city's clean air. However, the number of polluting cars in the city is growing by 40,000 a year.
In late 2020 plans were made public as to how the quality of air in Almaty can be improved. This included a reduction in emissions from the thermal power plants. A proposal was also put forward to convert Almaty and its suburban areas to gas. A control of greenery will be introduced which will make it difficult to fell mature trees and to encourage the planting of green areas. Diesel-powered vehicles will eventually be phased out over a period of a few years. It has also been suggested that certain cities will eventually become traffic-free.
In fulfilment of the instructions of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Zhomart Kemelovich Tokayev on improving the environmental situation in Almaty, local authorities are actively working with public organisations to expand the network of air quality control in the territory of Almaty. Currently, the ecological network "Kazhydromet" consists of 20 control points but from 8th June 2020, monitoring of air quality in Almaty increased to 10 sensors recording levels of PM2.5, the data will be displayed in the mobile application "AirKz", on an interactive map and will be published in the monthly newsletter. The total control network of Almaty is 26 points. Kazhydromet is also working with a publicly funded foundation to improve air quality in Almaty. As part of this cooperation, it is planned to connect 10 stations of Eco-Expert LLP to the control network, so that the monitoring of Almaty will cover 36 control points.
Experts claim that the city's air is particularly badly affected by old vehicles. Drivers prefer to buy used cars because they are cheaper than new ones. However, many have old inefficient catalytic converters which are no longer effective. As a result, harmful substances are released into the air. Therefore, they want to introduce an environmental fee for old cars.
From 2022, it is proposed to establish additional environmental payments for the use of gasoline and diesel fuel in the Almaty agglomeration. Thus, the transport tax system will be reformed. All proceeds will be used for air purification, including the development of alternative modes of transport, subsidies for low-income citizens and the development of environmentally friendly public transport.
Eco-activists say it is necessary to create a green zone in the centre of the city and give it special protection. For this purpose, it is necessary to change the construction standards. That is, construction will be stopped and replaced by greenery. It is planned to introduce a progressive tax rate for those who build in such green belts and foothills. And only cars that meet the environmental category will be allowed to enter the green zone. In addition, the cost of parking will increase.
Under this program, eco-activists will reach an agreement with a loan company to consider low-interest loans for those who want to convert their cars to (LPG) gas. So far, this is still in the planning stage. However, starting this year, Almaty's public transport and utilities will be gradually switched to gas. The city will be banned from purchasing diesel vehicles, and the purchase of gasoline vehicles with emissions below Euro-5 will be suspended. Public transport will be converted to LPG, and passengers will be transported by subway, LRT and other electric vehicles.
Researchers in the United States and China, who spent four years studying maths and public speaking skills of 20,000 people in China, found that prolonged exposure to polluted air significantly reduced cognitive ability. According to them, although the study was conducted only in Chinese cities, 80 per cent of the world's urban population breathes polluted air.
A study conducted in Almaty in 2018 showed a high incidence of upper respiratory diseases in the city. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was diagnosed in 6.7 per cent of the adult population of Almaty, and bronchial asthma in 25.5 per cent. The study shows that the prevalence of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and allergic rhinitis is much higher in Kazakhstan than in Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Civil society activists have suggested that the increase in the number of lung diseases and deaths is due to the environmental situation. Therefore, they immediately recommend the adoption of a program to improve the atmosphere of the city. The program will help bring Almaty's air quality up to the standards of European cities and the World Health Organisation within 5 years.