The dangerous pollution of the Pollog region

The air in the Region of Pollog, which includes the towns of Tetovo and Gostivar is polluted at an extent which is several times higher than the allowed scale. NGOs say that air pollution in the Region of Pollog is worrying. The Ministry of Ecology confirms the pollution but suspects the accuracy of measuring devices.

By Urim Hasipi
With the view towards the smoke clouds, Memedali Ameti, resident of the village of Kopanica seems quite upset with regard to the illnesses that the polluted air from the Metallurgic Combine Silmak in the village of Jegunovce can cause.

He lives in the village of Kopanica, Municipality of Jegunovce, in the northwest part of the country, and is quite worried about the air smelling in metals, which he, his family, and every other resident breathe every day. He says that the factory dates back five decades ago and today it only produces poisonous matter, not only for the inhabitants of the Municipality of Jegunovce. “It is OK for this factory to work, but it should have some protective filters too. The dust damages our living environment. Agriculture is also damaged a lot. He air is heavy. The citizens deserve protection for their health and well-being,” Memedali says.

The air in the Region of Pollog, which includes the towns of Tetovo and Gostivar is polluted at an extent which is several times higher than the allowed scale. Almost 99% of the pollution comes from the Metallurgic Combine – Jugohrom, which has been functioning for more than fifty years in this region and is part of the heavy industry.

This is confirmed by the Ministry of Ecology of the Republic of Macedonia. Black clouds of smoke coming out of this combine can be noticed across the whole region. The situation is very alarming especially in the villages along the River Vardar. This black smoke is inhaled by the inhabitants who live near this industrial facility. The inhabitants of the Municipality of Jegunovce and Tearce have been constantly worried about the issue in question. They are also worried about the agricultural products they cultivate. Respective institutions have to abide by the regulations for a cleaner environment. However, for the time being, they only confirm the results of air pollution, which seem to be unsatisfactory.

“In the region of Pollog, in accordance with the data the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environment has, emission in the air has been evidenced in the region by the installations placed in Tetovo, Gostivar and Jegunovce,” the written statement from the mentioned ministry says. According to them, the emission of harmful substances per ton this year have been given in the attached chart below. Of the total amount of dust, which has been identified in the region of Pollog, 99% comes from Silmak – Jegunovce and is then dispersed all around the region. As regards the air quality, from the Ministry of Ecology they say that it is measured in the monitoring station in Tetovo, within the framework of the State Automatic Monitoring System for Air Quality. According to the results gathered for polluting substances during 2013, the average limit of the amount of particles up to 10µm has been exceeded.

“We have to point out that the station needs to be dislocated because many large buildings have been built in its vicinity and the measurement values cannot be considered relevant and accurate,” say Ministry officials. The Ecological Section claims that they have systematically carried out examinations of industrial capacities in this region. “The last control in Jugohrom was just ten days ago. In accordance with the data from the monitoring station of allowed emission, the excess can be recorded only in dust particles, the reason being the worn out technology,” the written statement from the Ministry of Ecology says.

Experts and NGOs dealing with environmental protection issues say that the air pollution in the Region of Pollog is alarming. According to them, the greatest polluter is Silmak – Jugohrom, whose smoke covers with bunches of clouds the municipalities of Jegunovce and Tearce. Along with the smoke that comes out from the textile factory Teteks, the whole region of Pollog is polluted. Murtezan Ismaili, a university professor from the Environmental Institute and Health at SEEU says that these figures should alarm the competent institutions not just give them the luxury of discussing where it comes from and whether there are other obstacles for correct measurement of these parameters.

“The town of Tetovo has been very polluted recently. When we drive down from Popova Shapka, we can see the factory chimneys of Teteks and Silmak producing dense black smoke covering the whole area. There is urgent need to install independent pollution monitoring systems in Tetovo. The increase in the number of patients suffering from respiratory illnesses and other illnesses with unknown origin, are a sufficient indicator that Tetovo does not represent at all a paradise in terms of environment protection,” Prof. Ismaili says.

Meanwhile, according to the environment pollution map produced by NASA, Beijing is the most polluted city in the world, whereas Sarajevo (Bosnia) in Europe. Tetovo and Skopje are the most polluted cities in Macedonia, based on the referred map. Tetovo is now far more polluted than Veles, which used to be the most polluted town in Macedonia not long ago. The map published by NASA shows that many people in the world die because of pollution. According to research, about 2.1 million people in the world die because of pollution. 

Истражувањето е поддржано од ЦИН СКУП Македонија во рамките на проектот Подигнување на јавната свест за корупцијата преку истражувачко известувањеˮ

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