Pollution is taking people’s lives in FYROM

Pollution is taking people’s lives in FYROM

IBNA Special Report

Skopje, October 17, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

FYR Macedonia continues to be threatened by air pollution and that its level will see a rise in this period of the year when the weather is getting colder.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health, every year, 4500 fresh cases of cancer emerge every year, although international experts talk about a higher figure, namely 7 thousand.

Nevertheless, state institutions have not established if cancer affects mainly people who live near plants, which are considered to be big polluters.

The largest number of cancer affected people in the past four years has been registered in Skopje, where in the Center commune alone, last year there have been 800 new cases of cancer, compared to the previous year (2012). Other communes that lead the chart are Strumica, Manastir, Veles, Kumanovo and Tetovo.

Based on a study conducted by “Scoop Macedonia”, the data are alarming, as the country is exposed to pollution 2/3 of the year and 1/3 of deaths in the country come from air pollution.

“The highest concentration of dangerous gases in the past few years has been noticed in the months of summer. But, the situation is even more worrying during fall and winter”, says the report of “Scoop Macedonia”.

In its latest report, the World Bank came up with disappointing data which indicated that air in FYROM is among the most polluted in Europe and that pollution for has been above European standards for years.

According to the World Bank, the country ranks fifth based on annual deaths caused by air pollution, as the PM10 of the polluting dust is over the EU rate. This happens as a result of the discharges made by vehicles, plants and infrastructure.

Dragan Georgiev, an expert of health ecology from the Institute of Public Health, who has worked with the report of the World Bank, says that the recommendations of the report will be taken seriously.

“It’s clear that air pollution during the year is higher than the limits. The highest pollution is in Skopje, but year after year, pollution has also increased in other cities such as Tetovo, Kavadar and Kumanovo. These are seriously polluted cities”, says Georgiev.

He says that in particular locations in Skopje and Tetovo, pollution is 60-70%.

During the study, experts from the World Bank have used the so called scenario, according to which if pollution is reduced by 5 micrograms, 120 lives a year will be saved in Skopje alone.

The measurements of the Ministry of Environment show a presence of 234 microgram in a cubic meter of PM10 in Tetovo. This city is the most polluted one in this season, due to the gigantic “Jugohrom” plant.

Minister of Environment, Nurhan Izairi, declared for IBNA that the authorities are looking into the possibility of closing down this plant in Tetovo, but also to close town the “Makstil” plant in Skopje, in case they do not meet their required standards for the reduction of pollution until the end of the month.

“The deadline for this company will not be extended and we’re determined to close it down”, says minister Izairi, by demanding to the citizens to respect the recommendations of the ministry in order to use their cars less.

According to the Ministry of Environment, 1/3 of pollution comes from the industrial activity, 25% of the air pollution is caused by cars, then construction.

The minister warns projects which in the future will reduce the pollution of the air in the country. /ibna/