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Pollution levels in the capital have breached national guideline levels, owing to unusually high temperatures for February and low-intensity winds.
The City Institute of Public Health recorded significantly higher concentrations of pollutants in the air, especially in New Belgrade, Zemun and in Bulevar Despota Stefana, on February 5.
The institute recorded high concentration of hazardous particulates and sulphur dioxide.
High temperatures for this time of year, increased humidity, high atmospheric pressure and low-intensity winds are being blamed for high levels of smog.
Studies show that sulphur dioxide, even in low concentrations, can cause significant breathing problems for sensitive individuals, while particulates have been linked to respiratory illnesses, including cancers of the respiratory tract.
Those most susceptible are children of pre-school age, the chronically ill and elderly people.
Belgrade’s key polluter is traffic and pollution is worst in the busiest streets.
The most severe situations are at Zeleni Venac, Slavija, Vukov spomenik, the junctions of Bulevar Despota Stefana and Cvijiceva Street, Glavna and Zmaj Jovina in Zemun and Kneza Milosa and Kralja Milana.
There are about 550,000 cars in Belgrade and they are on average 15 years old.
In winter the additional problem of particulates - microscopic soot particles - comes from the emissions of diesel engines from the city’s heating plants and homes, which burn brown coal.
According to the City Institute of Public Health, about 150,000 households use coal for heating.
Coal-fired heating plants add additional sulphur dioxide and particulates to a witches’ brew of contaminants and at levels often many times higher than the World Health Organisation guidelines recommend.
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