SKOPJE (Macedonia), January 9 (SeeNews) - Macedonia's government said that it has activated a set of measures to tackle severe air pollution in the capital Skopje.
The measures were activated as of Monday based on information from measuring stations that air pollution levels in Skopje stayed above permissible levels for two straight days, the government said in a statement.
Employers are obliged to grant a leave from work to pregnant women, people older than 60 years, as well as people with chronic asthma and with history of a severe heart condition irrespective of their age.
The municipal authorities in Skopje should provide public transport services free of charge or at reduced fares during the period of unfavourable weather conditions, which would be an incentive for the citizens to use public public transport. The frequency of buses on all routes in the city should be increased.
The city authorities should also step up inspections at construction sites, waste motor oil collection companies and oil change firms.
The ministry of the interior should ensure compliance with the already introduced traffic regime for heavy commercial vehicles whose final destination is not Skopje, in order to divert transit traffic to the ring road of the city.
Also a ban on sport events and other large-scale outdoor activities is in place in Skopje, the government added.
The Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) measured a PM2.5 level of 155 µg/m3 in the capital city of Macedonia on Tuesday in 11:30 CET, which is defined as unhealthy. PM2.5 (particulate matter) refers to particles less than 2.5 μm in diameter suspended in the atmosphere. Major sources of primary PM2.5 are combustion in the energy industries and road transport as well as residential sources.