Several hundred citizens gathered with posts and banners with the words “I think, therefore I breathe”, “Stop Smog Now”, “Do you have a plan,?” “I want Santa to bring me some air” at noon gathered in front of the premises of the City of Skopje to protest against air pollution. The gathered citizens have told authorities they wanted “fresh air here and now”

“We are here to express our outrage from air pollution in Skopje what we have been facing more than 200 days a year. This initiative started in the Municipality of Aerodrom when asked the authorities to solve the problem, but for four weeks were ignored. Four people in Macedonia daily loss their lives due to high air pollution. That is about 1,400 deaths a year. Something needs to be done. We urge the authorities to take the necessary measures, if they wanted to, from tomorrow we could be breathing cleaner air”, said Merima Kondov, a resident from the Municipality of Aerodrom.

Ana Colovic Leshoska from the NGO”Eco svest” (Eco Aware) says that their organization for years have been asking the authorities to take measures, but now, they have never encountered such high levels of air pollution to be able to address the problem of air pollution.

“Air pollution has been here for years. Vodno is usurped, streets are expanded , cut trees down, they brought over 150,000 old vehicles, and although they bought new buses for public transportation, they run on diesel, which is no good for the traffic connections. Would you accept that we are the collateral damage because of the deals by our officials? There is no excuse for not taking action when it comes to human health. We demand urgent action now! No air, no peace – says Ana Colovic Leshoska.

The participants of the protest urged authorities to take urgent crisis measures to tackle the pollution issue, to prohibit the driving of cars that do not meet environmental standards, to introduce a full gasification system, to subsidize public transport and to immediately stop cutting down the trees.