North Macedonia, facing extreme air pollution, does not have a state laboratory to measure it


The Central Environmental Laboratory will not be ready to monitor the quality of the air the citizens of North Macedonia will breathe this coming winter. Although quite recently the minister of environment, Naser Nuredini, announced that the country is facing a difficult winter, when dirty fuels will be used for the production of electricity and for heating and that we can expect increased levels of air pollution, the emissions in the air will be checked by private laboratories only.

The Ministry of Environment’s laboratory, although established decades ago, has not yet been accredited for any method of monitoring air pollution. Last year it acquired the instrument for measurements of stationary sources, but only one employee was trained to operate it. Therefore, the accreditation process for the only state laboratory for the air pollution measuring methods will have to wait for two more workers to be employed, and then train them to use the instrument for measuring of the stationary sources.

The ministry says that the procedure for both employments is ongoing, but the accreditation procedure will begin after the entire employment and training process is implemented.

“The laboratory is expecting new employments so that the air measuring methods can be accredited. For the time being, an instrument for measuring emissions of stationary sources has been procured and one operator has been trained to operate it, but three operators are required for accreditation of the methods. Once we employ the new experts, we plan to accredit several air pollution measuring methods“, the ministry said, adding that for now, no purchase of new instruments for measuring air pollution has been planned.

For the environmentalists, the delay in the accreditation process of the Central Laboratory is worrisome. Gorjan Jovanovski, the creator of the platform “Air Care -Moj vozduh” says that promises for accreditation were given long ago, but have not been put forward as a priority, although over 3,000 people in the country die from air pollution annually.

“I don’t know when politicians will put the environment and clean air as a priority. They act as if neither they, nor their children are breathing the poison we have in the air every winter. And we know that this winter is going to be with particularly polluted air. We are talking about the return of oil and coal, energy sources that we are well aware affect air quality badly“, Jovanovski says.

As Meta.mk already wrote, the Central Environmental Laboratory at the Ministry of Environment in May this year was accredited for another five methods for waste water testing, i.e. determining the waste water quality, in regard to the amounts of the ammonium ions, sulfates, chloride, total phosphorus and the phosphates. Thus, the laboratory now has certificates for a total of 12 methods, one of which is for noise and the rest for water monitoring.

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