HomeBlogAir pollution in Romania: counties ranked from best to worst

Air pollution in Romania: counties ranked from best to worst

Covasna, Ilfov and Iasi are among the most polluted counties in Romania – says the new report conducted by Airly. Harghita and Galati can boast the lowest yearly concentration of PM10 particulate matter in the country. 

The highest levels of particulate matter pollution occur during the cold months, due to the combustion of solid fuels and atmospheric conditions which are favorable to pollution. Therefore we developed our councils rank for the heating period – from the beginning of  November 2020 to the end of February 2021.

Several councils – especially Bucharest, Dolj and Iaşi have experienced a substantial increase of the measured air pollution after taking into account the Airly sensor measurements. It proves that official measurements in those areas were underestimated, mostly due to the location parameters of the monitoring stations.

National air quality monitoring stations, called reference stations, are characterized by very high accuracy of measurements, but due to their size and maintenance costs, every city, even a large one, can afford several stations. Airly air quality sensors are a perfect complement to measurements from reference stations, as they can be placed in almost any point of the city. The combination of state stations and Airly sensors gives a more reliable and complete picture of the air quality in a given city.

How we measured the air pollution in Romanian Councils

To create a map of the most polluted counties in Romania, we took into account data from both more than 200 Airly air quality sensors located throughout the country, as well as national reference stations existing there. Airly sensors are not available in all “judete”, therefore the measurements in some regions are more accurate – Airly sensors are often also located in residential and recreational areas, hence they provide a more reliable picture of what air people breathe in a given area.

We’ve measured the PM10 particulate matter as it is the most common pollutant that is measured by both the state and Airly air quality monitoring stations. High concentrations of PM10 (the number “10” describes inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 10 micrometers and smaller) in the air contribute to the development or intensification of symptoms of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. They contribute to the formation of tumors of the lungs, throat and larynx, as well as lower birth weight of newborns.

5 counties with the worst air quality in Romania

5 counties with best air quality Romania


What are the leading sources of air pollution in Romania?

The World Health Organization describes the air quality in Romania as considered moderately unsafe. Air quality in Romania is changeable; it worsens significantly in winter and is mainly caused by individual heating and vehicle emissions. According to the “Air quality in Balkans and Romania” report published by Airly in 2020 (download the report HERE) other important sources of air pollution are caused by the mining industry, power generation and food processing. 

How can people improve air quality in Romania?

Air pollution is one of the key environmental problems today. However, changes in regulations, awareness-building and public education can contribute to improving air quality. Among such measures for clean air, it is worth mentioning: regulations on waste incineration and illegal landfills, limiting the heating of houses with solid fuels and the use of ecological means of transport, such as public transport or bicycles.

An important component of a positive change is also careful monitoring of air quality, which allows you to accurately understand the sources of pollution in a given area and make effective decisions to improve air quality.

Why is a dense network of air quality sensors important?

Maps below show the difference between measurements of PM10 pollution, made only by official stations, and measurements made also with Airly sensors. Airly stations are quite densely spread out in Bucharest, so we can observe more separated places with greater pollution. Also, we can predict with higher certainty pollution concentration in places without sensors. There are too few official stations to get full information about specific hotspots using only them.

Learn more about the air quality in your county

The representatives from Romanian municipalities can learn more about the state of air quality in their area and get advice on how to improve by contacting Airly HERE.

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