Photo taken on Jan. 9, 2019 shows the smog-shrouded city of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. After a week of clean air, Sarajevo has been shrouded in heavy air pollution as of Wednesday early morning, with the daily averages of polluted particles eight times more than prescribed values. (Xinhua/Nedim Grabovica)
SARAJEVO, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- After a week of clean air, Bosnia and Herzegovina's (BiH's) capital Sarajevo has been shrouded in heavy air pollution as of Wednesday early morning, with the daily averages of polluted particles 8 times more than prescribed values.
Most concentration of floating particles was recorded in the suburb of Ilidza, measuring 427 micrograms per cubic meter, BiH's Federal Institute for Hydrometeorology (FHMZ) report said on Wednesday, adding that the prescribed values are 50 micrograms per cubic meter.
Concentrations of sulphur dioxide exceeded the prescribed limit values of 125 micrograms per cubic meter, and the measuring stations in the city centre showed 138 micrograms per cubic meter.
FHMZ warns on the air index that is "very unhealthy", and that the values of nitrogen dioxide exceeded the allowed limit value.
"The allowed values of nitrogen dioxide are 85 micrograms per cubic meter and in the city center, the value of 93 micrograms per cubic meter was recorded," FHMZ report stated.
The high concentrations of pollutants in the air and daily exceedances of prescribed values of concentrations in Sarajevo are expected in the upcoming days, FHMZ warns.
Sarajevo residents are advised to avoid going outdoors in the circumstances of heavily polluted air, since long-term and peak exposures to pollutants range in severity of impact, from impairing the respiratory system to premature death, experts in FHMZ report warned.
Chronic patients and the elderly should avoid getting out in the morning and evening and should wear protective masks since the inhalation of polluted air can cause serious effects on the respiratory system, experts continue.
After the war that ended in 1995, with worsening of the economic situation, the majority of residents use coal for heating their houses, instead of electricity and gas that are a more expensive heating solution. Especially after BH Gas, BiH owned company dealing with gas distribution, announced on Tuesday that the prices of gas will be increased by 31.1 percent in 2019, more residents will switch to coal.
The major contributor to polluted air is nitrogen oxide that comes from car exhaust, coal power plants, and factory emissions, and despite the warnings, country's authorities haven't taken any concrete measures to lower the pollution.