Belgrade tops air pollution chart; Zagreb, Sarajevo, Prishtina, Skopje, Sofia not far behind

Belgrade tops air pollution chart Zagreb Sarajevo Prishtina Skopje Sofia not far behind

Photo: IQAir


October 18, 2021



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October 18, 2021



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Belgrade reached the top of the list of the world’s major cities in air pollution last night, according to IQAir, trailed closely by Zagreb, Sarajevo, Prishtina, Skopje and Sofia.

Just like in the past several years at the start of the heating season, as tracked by the IQAir application for data from official measuring stations in countries across the planet, the Balkans saw a sharp increase in air pollution. Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, has mostly held the first position since last night on the list of ninety major cities of the world. The ranking is determined by hourly results and the US AQI index methodology.

Just like before, particulate matter of the PM2.5 type was the dominant pollutant, which determines the position in the list. The microscopic dust particles have a diameter of up to 2,5 micrometers and they are the most dangerous for human health as they can penetrate through the most efficient protective mask, and even through the skin.

Air in Belgrade borders with very unhealthy

The reading for Belgrade reached 193 points in the early hours of Monday, defining air quality as unhealthy. The index shows red in the category. The city was in the lead by far, as second-placed Lahore, Pakistan, came in at 24 points below. The US AQI index turns purple above 200 and the air is then considered very unhealthy. The maroon color is used for results higher than 300, when it is hazardous to breathe the air.

Belgrade, Sarajevo and Zagreb have been among the top five major cities with the most polluted air for several hours on the IQAir application

Almost all cities on the said IQAir list are located in the Northern Hemisphere. The chart covers almost fifty countries. All Balkan cities on the list have held high positions since last night. Sarajevo also made it to number one, Zagreb was mostly in the top five, and Skopje, Prishtina and Sofia weren’t far behind.

Belgrade tops air pollution chart Zagreb Sarajevo Prishtina Skopje Sofia


Sokolac in Bosnia and Herzegovina was most polluted location in Europe

Of note, the inhabitants of a number of industrial hubs in the region such as Bor and Smederevo in Serbia are usually even more exposed to extreme air pollution. In today’s hourly readings, Sokolac in Bosnia and Herzegovina was at one point the most polluted place in Europe on IQAir’s wider list. The PM2.5 level reached almost 230 points, which means the air was very unhealthy around the measuring device.

However, the vast majority of the cities with the most PM2.5 air pollution last year are in China and India. Sarajevo, the capital city of BiH, landed at the highest position in the Balkans, 167, followed by Serbia’s Valjevo, which was in 174th place.

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