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jovanovski Nov 27, 2018 03:31 PM
Macedonia has been listed as Europe's worst air polluted country. We, as citizens, have significant (and rational) distrust at politicians and their methods on solving this crisis.

There was a study made by the Ministry of Environment of Macedonia, where they blame household heating as the main source of pollution. Citizens and activist doubt that, believing that it's the industry having the biggest impact (based on mobile sensor readings and crowdsourcing pictures of polluting factories).

In order to settle this once and for all, Macedonia requires foreign, independent analysis to conclude the source of the contamination. Is this something the EEA can help with, or at least point us to the right branch of the EU/external company, that can carry out such analysis on air pollution?
Replies (1)
EEA Nov 30, 2018 04:38 PM
Dear jovanovski,

Thank you for your interest in the European Environment Agency (EEA).

First, it is relevant to point out that FYR Macedonia is not a member of the EU nor an EEA member country and as such the EEA does not collect emissions data from the country. However, the EMEP Centre on Emission Inventories and Projections (CEIP; http://www.ceip.at/) under the UN ECE Convention on Lon-range Air Pollution (LRTAP) collects data from FYR Macedonia. Colleagues at EMEP have sent us data of aggregated emissions for several air pollutants in the country.

If you send an email to info@eea.europa.eu and reference the case no. EEA-181127-0003, we can send you these data along with other relevant material collected by our sector experts on air pollutant emissions. Unfortunately we cannot upload files to the forum in the same way.

As for the question you bring up about where air pollutant emissions in FYR Macedonia originates from, it depends on the specific pollutant. For example, solid fuel combustion in domestic stoves still seem to be a source of air quality issues in FYR Macedonia. For an examination of the implications of this practice, see chapter 3 of the publication “Air quality in Europe – 2016 report” (page 22, EEA Report No. 28/2016, https://www.eea.europa.eu/[…]/air-quality-in-europe-2016).

Summarising, the reported data from EMEP show that the residential stationary combustion sector (“household heating”) in FYR Macedonia is the main source of the following main air pollutants (details can be found in the data we can send you via email):
• non-methane volatile organic compounds (a ground-level ozone precursor) (26%),
• particulate matter emitted directly into the air (PM2.5 and PM10) (62% and 43%),
• black carbon (part of PM) (69%),
• carbon monoxide (CO) (65%),
• benzo(a)pyrene (88%).

Public electricity and heat production is the main source of:
• nitrogen dioxides (41%; road transport contributes only with 29% in this country),
• sulphur oxides (86%),
• the heavy metals cadmium (Cd; 46%), mercury (Hg; 45%), arsenic (As; 90%).

Industry combustion is the main source of:
• the heavy metals lead (Pb; 49%), copper (Cu; 32%),
• Hexachlorobenzene (HCB; 97%),
• polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs; 90%).

We also had a look at FYR Macedonia’s Informative Inventory Report (IIR), which has to be submitted together with the emission inventory under the LRTAP Convention.
The IIR states: “With regards to CO, the main reason for decreasing trend and reduction of 14% in 2016 compared to 2015 is the higher use of natural gas and briquettes and pellets for residential heating instead of the use of fossil fuels and wood… The main reason for decreasing trend {in primary particulate matter emissions} and reduction of around 60% in 2016 compared to 1990, is the higher use of natural gas and briquettes and pellets for residential heating instead of the use of fossil fuels and wood …”
This could indicate that FYR Macedonia is responding to the issue of solid fuel combustion in domestic stoves by making a move to other fuel sources.

From the EEA air quality database we have also extracted raw measurement data reported by FYR Macedonia through the framework of Air Quality eReporting. As mentioned before, if you send an email to info@eea.europa.eu, we can provide you with a time series of measurement data covering 2013-2017.
In summary, the air quality measurement data for this period show that for NO2, SO2, and CO, all values were under EU limit values. For O3 there were some exceedances of the target value. For PM2.5 and PM10, all values (except one station) were above limit values.

You can find additional information about air quality at the EEA air pollution data resource page: https://www.eea.europa.eu/[…]/explore-air-pollution-data

As for you question about investigating a possible discrepancy in emissions measurements or reported data, the EEA is not a competent authority for this task, as FYR Macedonia is not a member country and the EEA’s remit does not allow for such activity.

Whether such an investigation could fall under the LRTAP convention should be a question directed to UNECE or EMEP.

Best regards,
EEA Enquiry Service