live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 67 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 19.8 µg/m³|
|Close your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air|
|Sensitive groups should reduce outdoor exercise|
|Wednesday, Mar 3|
Moderate 82 US AQI
|Thursday, Mar 4|
Moderate 93 US AQI
|Friday, Mar 5|
Moderate 82 US AQI
|Saturday, Mar 6|
Moderate 54 US AQI
Good 44 US AQI
|Monday, Mar 8|
Moderate 54 US AQI
|Tuesday, Mar 9|
Good 35 US AQI
|Wednesday, Mar 10|
Good 30 US AQI
|Thursday, Mar 11|
Moderate 60 US AQI
|Friday, Mar 12|
Good 40 US AQI
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Bucharest is the capital city of Romania, also holding the title of the country’s largest city, with some 2.1 million people estimated to be living there as of 2020. As well as this, it is known as the financial, cultural, industrial and economic heart, home to many international supermarket chains, businesses and corporations focused around the IT industry, as well as a massive recent growth in the amount of malls and luxury brand outlets that have cropped up in the last decade. With a growing economy, influx of skilled workers and laborer’s, as well as larger amounts of construction and urban infrastructure being introduced into the city, there would be a subsequent blow to the level of air quality as an unfortunate side effect, as is so often the case in cities that see similar growth.
In 2019, Bucharest came in with a PM2.5 average of 18.4 μg/m³, putting it into the ‘moderate’ pollution ratings bracket, one which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. Whilst this is not an overtly bad reading by any means, it still represents Bucharest having some pollutive issues occurring in its atmosphere, with any reading over the World Health Organizations target goal of 10 μg/m³ or less having the chance to cause adverse effects in those who are exposed. This reading of 18.4 μg/m³ also placed Bucharest into 1001st position out of all cities ranked worldwide, as well as 3rd place out of all cities in Romania. As mentioned, whilst this is not a particularly terrible position to be in, Bucharest could certainly benefit greatly by improving its air quality levels.
Some of the causes of pollution present in Bucharest would be ones such as the use, or rather overuse of vehicles, a constant and encroaching source of pollution worldwide that is always pervasive in nature, so much so that the mass lockdowns imposed during the covid-19 era of 2020 saw huge improvements in air quality across the globe, mainly due to the lessened amount of vehicles on the road as a result.
Further compounding the issue of vehicular pollution would be the fact that many of the cars and other personal vehicles present in Bucharest, and indeed much of Romania, would be significantly aged and well past their prime, with taxes having recently removed from older vehicles in a move by the government in recent times, leading to large amounts of second hand cars flooding onto the roads. These often run on diesel or lower quality fuels, and can put out far larger quantities of chemical pollutants, particulate mater and oil vapors than a newer model would. Other factors that are of importance to mentioned would be coal fired power plants, factories and other such industrial sites, coupled with environmental issues such as the removal of green areas in favor of new buildings and developments.
Observing the PM2.5 readings taken over the course of 2019, there emerges a pattern as to when the air quality took a turn for the worst, and as is so common in cities subject to more severe winters, these months of higher pollution took place during said colder months. Towards the end of the year is when PM2.5 readings began to rise, with the month of September coming in at a fairly lower (relatively speaking) reading of 14 μg/m³. This was followed in October by a reading of 21 μg/m³, showing a leap had taken place.
This sudden rise was followed by a reading of 16.8 μg/m³ and 19.2 μg/m³ in the following months of November and December. The worst levels of pollution were witnessed in the earlier months of the year, with January, February and March all coming in with readings of 27 μg/m³, 30.4 μg/m³ and 20.8 μg/m³ respectively, making February the most polluted month of the year and only a few units away from moving up to a higher pollution bracket.
Bucharest sees widespread improvements in its pollution levels as the winter months come to a close, with March’s reading of 20.8 μg/m³ going down to 16.6 μg/m³ in April, and then down further to 13.1 μg/m³ in May. Whilst the pollution levels fluctuated somewhat during this time, the months of April through to September were the cleanest out of the entire year, with May and August having equally appreciable readings of PM2.5 with identical readings of 13.1 μg/m³ each. This reading is only 1 unit away from being moved into the ‘good’ ratings bracket, one that is far more respectable and also indicative that if Bucharest were to introduce more positive incentives regarding pollution cleanup into its future agenda, it could quite easily see several of its months break into this better ratings bracket.
With a large amount of its pollution coming from vehicles, construction sites as well as the use of coal in factories and their related emissions, there would be a wide variety of chemical compounds as well as particulate matter in the air in Bucharest.
Ones released from all combustion sources, which take place in factories, car engines, open burn sites and power plants would include material such as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC's). Black carbon is the main component of soot, and finds its creation and subsequent release (along with VOC's) from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and organic matter. Regarding incomplete combustion, old motors and engines would also be major contributors to this, releasing large amounts of soot as well as the usual offending chemicals such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), as is so common in exhaust fumes.
Some examples of VOC's include chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and methylene chloride, particularly dangerous due to their ability to maintain a gaseous state even in much colder temperatures, and thus much easier to inhale. Other pollutants would be ones such as finely ground silica dust, toxic metals such as mercury and lead, as well as dioxins, furans and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons.