Air pollution in Skopje worsens health crisis

A man walking through an empty, decorated street during heavy fog and air pollution that covered Skopje valley in Skopje, the Republic of North Macedonia, yesterday. Fog, smog, increased emissions on account of household heating requirements and othe
PHOTO: EPA-EFE

A man walking through an empty, decorated street during heavy fog and air pollution that covered Skopje valley in Skopje, the Republic of North Macedonia, yesterday.

Fog, smog, increased emissions on account of household heating requirements and other pollution have put Skopje, the Macedonian capital, on the list of the most polluted cities in the world. Combined with a surge in the number of people being infected with the coronavirus, the poor air quality exacerbates an already serious health crisis in the country.

According to reports, the city is so polluted that people with respiratory illnesses seek to move uphill to escape the toxic fumes, while many young people dream of emigrating.

The World Health Organisation has estimated that around 4,000 premature deaths a year in North Macedonia may be due to air pollution. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2020, with the headline 'Air pollution in Skopje worsens health crisis'. Print Edition | Subscribe