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Macedonia: Skopje's Pollution Monitoring Saga Continues

NGO Greenbox is compensating for the lack of web interface for the air pollution measuring system in Skopje by posting photos of the display on their blog.

The system for measuring air pollution in the capital of Macedonia stopped providing online data at the beginning of 2012. The city government, which owns the system, was slow to react, and this fueled the dissatisfaction of the local residents, who expressed doubts about the motives behind the discontinuation of this transparent practice.

Greenbox continued to track the progress of this case, posting regular updates on their blog and Facebook profile. On February 15, 2012, the measuring station's display malfunctioned [mk] also, causing a new wave of citizen dissatisfaction.

The message on the Skopje Breathing display declaring that something went wrong on Feb. 15, 2012. Photo: Greenbox blog.

The city finally reacted by hiring a company to repair the display two days later [mk], and after that published a tender for maintenance services [mk] during the year. Greenbox wrote:

According to the documentation published by the City of Skopje on the electronic system for public procurement, the companies should submit offers by March 2, and the cheapest offer will be selected. The available tender documentation does not specify if the tender winner will be obliged to re-activate the webpage “Skopje Breathing”, which published live data feed based on the measurements. This page enabled thousands of citizens to get first-hand information about the air pollution, which at times was up to 10 times higher than the allowed maximum. [...]

Screenshot of a post from Greenbox blog with photos of the Skopje Breathing display.

Screenshot of a post from Greenbox blog with photos of the Skopje Breathing display.

In the meantime, Greenbox declared [mk] that their members will provide the data from the display via their blog, and have been doing that every morning for the past ten days.

They also invite citizens to take snapshots of the display at other times of the day and send them to Greenbox, because the levels of pollution may vary, depending on the intensity of industrial and traffic activity. The recorded measurements published in the “Skopje Breathing” category [mk] of the Greenbox blog showed various levels of air quality in the past few days, from “unhealthy” to “moderately polluted” to “clean.”

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