The citizens of Skopje believe that the biggest problem they are facing right now – more than urbanization, more than the destruction of green areas and public transportation – is pollution. As many as 72 percent of respondents in the survey, carried out the Brima Gallup research agency for Nezavisen Vesnik/Independent daily newspaper, said that the most important problems facing the city were the different types of environmental pollution.
The top spots on the list of the most polluted cities in the world, which has been an infamous record of the city of Skopje for quite some time, are also reflected in the results of the survey. A majority of the respondents (79%) are not at all satisfied with how the pollution reduction measures are implemented in the City of Skopje. Of these, 48 percent said they were very dissatisfied, and 31 percent said they were somewhat dissatisfied, and only 18 percent said they were somewhat satisfied.
Residents of the municipalities of Aerodrom (100%) and Centar (95%) are most dissatisfied with the measures against air pollution. Municipality of Saraj is the only municipality in the City of Skopje where respondents are more satisfied than dissatisfied with the implementation of anti-pollution measures, with half of the respondents saying they are satisfied, and 37% are dissatisfied with the measures. Also, the respondents from the urban regions of the City of Skopje and ethnic Macedonians are far more dissatisfied with the implementation of cleaner air measures than those from rural areas and ethnic Albanians.
As the main air polluter in Skopje, most of the respondents (61%), indicated the industry. Drisla landfill, which has been unable to get a manager whose care for the city garbage will be primary, 21% of the respondents pointed out as the main polluter, and 3% it is the Usje Cement Factory (Cementarnica). In a much smaller number (17 percent), the respondents indicated the way of heating up households, ie those who use on wood, tires, plastics and other harmful materials, 8 percent gave the exhaust gases from the vehicles, while in many Other proportions are listed other factors that pollute: dust from construction sites (2 percent), overcrowding and unplanned construction (2 percent), all previously mentioned (6 percent) and another (4 percent).
Municipalities in which most of the respondents mentioned the industry and factories as the main polluters are residents of Aerodrom – 85 percent and Centar – 7 percent.
“Respondents aged 18 to 54 years of age are more likely to indicate industry as the main polluter than respondents aged 55 and over.
Although all of the respondents indicate factories and industry as the main culprit, those who responded that they are somewhat satisfied with the implementation of the measures tend to consider exhaust gases to be a relevant factor in pollution, unlike those dissatisfied with the measures and in a much larger number answered factories,” explained Brima Gallup.
As a curiosity, the indicator shows that 39 percent of respondents said that they heat their households by using solid fuels, and 61 percent believe that by replacing this type of heating would contribute most to clean air.
For 31 percent of the households in the City of Skopje, the main source for heating households is electricity (air-conditioners, heaters, panels, heat pumps, boilers, heat furnaces, etc.), and 29 percent stated that they are connected to central city heating.
Municipalities in which the majority of households reported that they are connected to central city heating are Centar – 84 percent, Aerodrom – 78 percent and Karpos – 72 percent, while municipalities with the largest number of households that stated that are using solid fuel for heat are Saraj (97 percent) and Shuto Orizari (87 percent). Likewise, households with five or more members have reported to a greater extent that they are using wood, pellets and other solid fuels than two, three or four-member households.
Among the respondents, the most widespread opinion is that citizens at the individual level could contribute to reducing air pollution in Skopje, by consciously using public transportation (82 percent), ie they would use public transportation on most polluted days (34 percent), would replace cars with bicycle / walking / public transportation (32 percent), or would use combined transport (16 percent). In addition, the percentage of citizens (2 percent) that is negligible is the change in the way of heating in order to breathe cleaner air. But 20 percent said they replaced wooden windows with PVC windows and installed external wall insulation.
On the other hand, the percentage of recycling in North Macedonia doesn’t even reach to 10 percent. Low awareness of the importance of waste treatment in useful materials is also shown through the survey’s data that only 22 percent of respondents consider that the selection of waste could reduce air pollution.
The citizens’ troubles with the streets that are under construction and are drowning in water after a short rainfall, and which cannot walk freely because of parked cars in pedestrian spots, are just a part of the reasons that pushed the problem with streets as the second most important municipal problem (47 percent).
The third place of the main problems in the municipalities was taken by public cleanliness and garbage collection and waste (35 percent), followed by urban planning and development (24 percent), opening new jobs in the municipality (21 percent), street lighting (17 percent), waste selection (15 percent), water and sanitation (14 percent), local economic development (14 percent), security and crime (12 percent), and others.
Municipalities in which the problem of environmental pollution is especially emphasized are Aerodrom (81 percent) and Gazi Baba (76 percent), while in the municipality of Cair the main problem is with infrastructure and maintenance of local roads (76 percent).
According to the place of residence, for the respondents from the rural areas compared to those from the urban, more important local problems are: electricity supply, water supply and sewage problems, street lighting, public transportation and unemployment in the municipality. While in urban areas, unlike rural, more frequent problems are: environmental pollution, urban planning and development, and security and crime.
The analysis is based on results from a telephone survey, conducted from February 28 to March 4, 2019, on a quota sample representative of the population over 18 years of age on the territory of the City of Skopje. The sample is divided into ten municipalities, by sex, age, ethnicity and place of residence (city / village). The survey covered 511 respondents. The marginal error of the sample is +/- 4.3 percent at a confidence level of 95 percent.
(AS – BB)