Guardian: The air in Skopje smells of burnt plastic, air pollution reduces the life expectancy of citizens
The mountains around Skopje keep citizens safe when the smog gets thicker, but they also trap the toxins that make the air among the most dangerous of all cities in Europe, this is how the respected newspaper begins its analysis The Guardian about the extreme air pollution in the capital, but also in all of Macedonia.
Bad fuel and urbanization have been suffocating the capital for decades, and old factories are around homes and offices. In winter, when people burn stoves with waste wood and garbage, warm air rises into the sky, which meets the cold and heavy mountain air and forms the lid that keeps pollution and fog in the valley itself.
"For some residents, bad air is an additional reason to leave the country, along with low wages and corruption that have fueled the brain drain to the EU," the Guardian said.
A Guardian analysis based on European air quality data found that Skopje hosts three of the continent's most polluted counties and, along with other Western Balkan cities and Poland, is one of Europe's hotspots for PM-2,5 particles.
The data reveals that almost all residents in seven countries in Eastern Europe – Serbia, Romania, Albania, Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary – have at least twice as much polluted air as WHO guidelines. Macedonia has had a problem with high air pollution for years.