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You are here: Home / The European environment – state and outlook 2010 / Country assessments / Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Air pollution (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)

Why should we care about this issue

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

Information indicates that the balance of the atmosphere has been disturbed over recent decades. Phenomena that are difficult to control continue, and huge amounts of pollutants are released into the air causing acidification, damaging the biosphere, affecting soil, etc., and are having negative impacts on human health and the environment. And man-made accidents such as oil leakages, industrial accidents involving emissions of toxic substances into the air and forest fires seem occur more frequently.

Taking into account these pressures at the global level, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has made efforts to improveme of the state of the environment, especially air quality. The country has implemented the requirements of the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and its Protocols, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. The country is also working on the adoption of a series of legal acts in accordance with the EU acquis, aimed at implementing actions for air quality improvement. To this end, it has been necessary to carry out assessments of air pollutants to determine their amounts and distribution and measure their background concentrations.

The state and impacts

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011


Sulphur dioxide - SO2

In 2008, the mean concentration of sulphur dioxide (SO2) measured during the winter period was higher than the mean annual concentration at all measuring points. Mean annual SO2 concentrations and mean winter period concentrations in excess of the limit values set for ecosystem protection were observed in major urban centres.

According to the available data, mean daily concentrations of SO2 in excess of the limit value were observed in the City of Skopje only in 1998, 1999 and 2006 due to the operation of facilities for heat and energy production in the winter period, industry and heavy traffic. Such exceedances, however, were not found in Macedonian cities.

The state and impacts

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011


Nitrogen dioxide – NO2

Processed data show that average annual concentrations of NO2 in excess of the limit value were seen in Skopje in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2006. In 2007-2008, the concentration of this pollutant fell.

In other cities, exceedances were recorded in Kumanovo in 2004 and in Kicevo in 2005. This was probably due to high traffic density and the operation of industrial facilities.

No exceedances were observed during 2007 and 2008 at any measuring point.

The state and impacts

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011



In recent years measured concentrations of PM10 in urban areas exceeded the limit values for daily and annual mean concentration as a result of production processes, combustion processes in industry, production of electricity and heat, road transport and the building industry.

Most exceedances are observed in the autumn and winter, most probably due to increased traffic and fossil fuel combustion, to meteorological conditions and the topographic location of the cities.

Figure 3 shows that annual average concentrations of PM10 are exceeding the limit – a mean annual concentration of 40 µg/m3 – in all cities where measurements are made. The highest mean annual concentrations recorded in the capital, Skopje, which is most probably due to life styles, density of population, and the high level of solid fuel used for household heating in the winter, as well as to industrial sources since the majority of industry is located in the capital.

The key drivers and pressures

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 13 Apr 2011


Data sources

The three sectors largely responsible for air emissions are: energy production, especially electricity production; road traffic and industry.

Combustion for energy, especially electricity production, is of particular relevance. Figure 4 indicates that overall electricity consumption has grown over the past five years at an annual rate of 4.46 %. The high growth rate is due to re-starting of the ferro-nickel, ferro-silicon and the steel industry, all major consumers of electricity.

Industrial electricity consumption is significant and rather variable. Variations in electricity consumption correspond with oscillations in the steel and ferro-alloy industry. Such oscillations are shown on Figures 4.


Trend of emissions

 An inventory of air pollutants based on CORINAIR methodology expressed by Selected Nomenclature for air pollution-SNAP sectors (see key to Figure 8) was established and assessment was made for the period 2002-2008. This means that the trend has some uncertainty. Namely before 2002 the emission calculation have been performed according to National methodology which in some section was not compatible with CORINAIR methodology. The analysis and correction of data from the 2002 have not been performed according to CORINAIR methodology.

SO2 emissions by sector for the period 2002-2008 are presented in Figure 6.

In 2002-2008, SO2 emissions were almost constant, other than in 2005 when they fell. This was mainly due to the reduced number and/or closing of production processes in metallurgy industry, a major source of pollution.

Electricity production is the biggest source of SO2 emissions: more than 85 % of its emissions result from electricity production using low quality and low calorific value lignite. 

Most of the emission sources are located in south-western part of the country where the largest electricity production plant is situated. The quality of solid and liquid fuels is low, with high sulphur content.

NOx emissions by sector for the period 2002-2008 are presented in Figure 7.

With regard to emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX), a varying trend was also seen in the period from 2002 to 2008, with falling emissions in 2005 and rising or almost constant trend in other years.

The highest contributors are electricity production, 35 %, and transport, 33 %, owing to poor quality of fuels and an obsolete vehicles fleet.

The drop in 2005 was due mainly to the reduced number and/or closure of production processes in metallurgy. Considering the instability of the transition period in the country, variations in the amounts of emission up to 2008 are not surprising. This, however, indicates that no continuous falling trend in the amounts of emission in the short or longer term can be achieved in the absence of specific measures and programmes for the reduction of polluting emissions.

Total Suspended Particle (TSP) emission distributions by sector for the period 2002-2008 are presented in Figure 8.

TSP emissions in the period 2002-2008 come mostly from the production of ferro-silica alloys, open quarries and stone-pits. As can be seen from Figure 8 TSP emissions grew for 2002-2006 and have fallen since then. This is largely due to a reduced amount of work allowed at the installation for the production of ferro-silicon. The apparent small amount of TSP emissions in 2002 results from the small amount of processed air emission data available for that year.

The 2020 outlook

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011


Data sources

Based on the status of ambient air quality and preliminary assessments, two zones and one agglomeration have been established. Within this zones and agglomeration further assessment of air quality will be performed. The revision of the preliminary assessment will be performed during this year.

The assessment of air quality provides a basis for development of a National Air Protection Plan, and programmes and action plans for air quality protection and improvement at the local level. The National Air Protection Plan is currently in preparation and will be finalized until June 2011.

National emission ceilings for the basic pollutants have been identified in the Rulebook (Rulebook on the amounts of emission ceilings of polluting substances for the purpose of setting projections for a certain period concerning the polluting substances emission reduction at annual level, Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia No 2/2010) which entered into force in January 2010, which sets targets for annual emission reductions. Also, a National Emission Reduction Plan (NERP) will be prepared during 2010 and implemented in line with Directive 2001/81/ЕC. The specific measures for the protection and improvement of air quality identified in the National Air Protection Plan and the National Emission Reduction Plan will provide a basis for the calculation of projections for the basic pollutants for 2010-2020.

The process of ratification and preparation of national implementation plans for the eight Protocols to CLRTAP is in progress. In accordance with the measures defined in the NERP, emissions projections for the period 2010-2020 will be identified by the end of 2010.

Existing and planned responses

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

The 2005 Law on Environment (LE) regulates areas of relevance for air quality and air emissions, especially in the sections on monitoring, environmental impact assessment and integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC). Enforcement of IPPC procedures will contribute to reduction of air pollutant emissions.

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has initiated the establishment of an IPPC system, by transposing the EU Directive 96/61/ЕC on IPPC into the LE. Three chapters of the LE refer to:

  • integrated environmental permits for the operation of installations having impacts on the environment;
  • general environmental audits;
  • adjustment permits with adjustment plans.

The LE regulates the issue of A-integrated environmental permits[1]. In order to start operating, new installations are obliged to have fulfilled the conditions of an integrated environmental permit, while existing installations have a deadline for preparation of adjustment plans for achieving compliance. The adjustment permit is the basis for gradual improvements up to the compliance requirements under the IPPC for existing installations. Issuing of the adjustment permits is performed by the Administration for Environment and control of the implementation of the conditions regulated by the permits is carried out by the State Inspectorate.    

The Law on Ambient Air Quality provides a number of bylaws for adoption. So far, the following have been adopted and implemented:

  • Decree on limit values of levels and types of ambient air pollutants and alert thresholds, deadlines for limit value achievement, margins of tolerance for the limit value, target values and long-term targets;
  • Rulebook on criteria, methods and procedures for ambient air quality assessment;
  • Rulebook on methodology for inventory of air emissions; and List of established ambient air quality zones and agglomerations;
  • Rulebook on monitoring and reporting;
  • Rulebooks on detailed content and manner of development of the National Plan, programme and action plans for ambient air improvement and protection;
  • Bylaws to transpose the following EU Directives: 1996/62/ЕC; 1999/30/EC; 2000/69/EC; 2002/3/EC; 2004/107/EC; 2008/50/EC; 2001/81/EC; 2001/80/EC; 1997/101/EC 1996/61/EC are in drafting stage.
  • 61 ISO and CEN standards in the area of ambient air quality and air emission have been adopted by a method of endorsement.

[1] While introducing IPPC system in Republic of Macedonia taken into account the structure of the installations a system of two types of permits was established. A-permits are issued by the Ministry and they refer to the larger installations for example production of energy, refinery and industry production. On another hand the B permits are for smaller installations and issued by local self-governmental units.


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