Air pollution has become a major environmental and health threat for people living in the capital Skopje, and the situation has aggravated with the years. Household heating is one of the main culprits, accounting for at least 32% of total harmful emissions. During the winter months, the monitoring stations of the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning are measuring concentrations of harmful PM10 particles that are sometime ten times higher than the maximum allowed concentrations as per the national legislation.
But what’s this has to do with climate change? Well, although climate change and air pollution are caused by different gases, their source is usually the same…
From analytics to systemic change – using Data innovation 4 sustainable action
As a response to this raising concern, in 2017 a heating study “STUGRES” was commissioned on the territory of the city of Skopje and 17 municipalities that are part of the Skopje agglomeration, aimed at examining the ways in which different household heating practices affect the greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, CH4, N2O), local pollution (PM2,5, PM10, CO, SOx, NOx) and air quality in the capital.
What has been done differently?
Using the new innovative locally developed mobile app - Placeformer and using City of Skopje Innovation Center - Skopje Lab testing environment a pool of geo-tagged data has been collected in only 3 weeks, much cheaper and faster than standard data collection methods.
Heating practices in the households in Skopje– interactive map
Turning Skopje's biggest problems into biggest opportunities
Blending the household heating dataset with various measures and policies extracted the top 3 measures that will enable Skopje to breath:
• Constructing energy-efficient buildings (improvement of insulation in housing facilities)
• Changing heating practices (efficient technologies)
• Increased use of central heating (existing or small central systems)
The proposed measures should also reduce the consumption of energy obtained from GHG high emission energy sources and should ensure their replacement with low-carbon fuels, as well as promote the use of technologies that will have minimum effect on local pollution. Moreover, on top the combined effect of implementing all three measures together is much greater than the effect of measures implemented individually.
STUGRES introduces step by step guidance for implementation of the measures and prevents further speculation on solutions that focus on symptoms rather than root causes
STUGRES turns challenges into opportunities, making an impact while benefiting the City of Skopje and its citizens.
STUGRES study more info on the following link.