Emergency measures to combat air pollution enter into force

Emergency measures to curb air pollution enter into force starting today following a government decree on reduction of pollutant-level exceedances, government spokesman Mile Bosnjakovski said Friday.

Also, the government is mulling procurement equipment for personal protection against air pollution, filtering face masks, air purifiers for schools, health centers and kindergartens.

These measures were discussed today by an initiative of PM Zoran Zaev at a meeting of an inter-institutional coordination group, consisting of officials of Zaev’s office, the Ministry of Environment and the City of Skopje.

The emergency measures include days off for pregnant women, people over 60 years of age, people suffering from chronic asthma, people who have had a stroke, etc. They also recommend that working hours should be reorganized for workers working outdoors from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and a ban on sporting events and games outdoors.

The municipalities are urged to cut public transportation fees during unfavorable climate conditions so as to motivate the citizens to use public transport more and to allow free-of-charge public transportation. Also, the municipalities are obliged to clean streets and areas for pedestrians on daily basis, to boost inspection controls on construction sites, etc.

The State Environment Inspectorate is tasked with curbing emissions from plants awarded with B-integrated permits and increasing inspection of factories possessing A-integrated permit.

The Ministry of the Interior is obligated to activate the control of a traffic regime that has been already introduced for heavy cargo vehicles whose final destination isn’t the capital Skopje.

Furthermore, state bodies, agencies, funds, public enterprises as well as municipalities are urged to cut by half the use of official vehicles.

According to the decree, the measures will be enforced unless levels of fine PM10 particles, measured for two consecutive days, exceed 200 micrograms. So far, such measures were ordered after harmful levels had been measures for five consecutive days.