On New Year's Eve fine dust air concentration increased threefold

07 Jan, 2022 | 10:10

The concentration of fine dust – particulate matter (PM10) in the air over large cities was 2-3 times higher on New Year's Eve compared to the evening hours of December 31, 2021 and the morning of January 1, 2022.


This is shown by the analysis of the Ministry of Environment and Water based on the data from the stations of the Executive Environment Agency (EEA) across the country. “Definitely in big cities, with or without municipal fireworks, there is a serious increase in the concentration of fine dust in the air after midnight. And the fact that fireworks pollute the air is indisputable,” said the Minister of Environment and Water Borislav Sandov.


Minister Sandov said that improving air quality is a government priority and the MOEW is working to secure national funding for the air quality monitoring system. It is planned to expand and modernize the system in order to identify the sites and sources of pollution, whereby 15 million BGN will be set aside to this end. An additional 1.4 million BGN will be invested to strengthen the existing air quality monitoring system.


According to agency experts’ observations, PM10 concentration is shown to increase more than three times by three of the five stations in the capital after midnight. Measurements by the Pavlovo station show that the effect of the fireworks peaked at 236.44 micrograms/cubic meter at 3am, then gradually decreased and reached lower concentrations at 70.17 micrograms/cubic meter at 9am. By comparison, data from 6pm on December 31 showed only 7.92 micrograms/cubic meter.


Measurements by the Mladost monitoring station show that at 6pm on December 31 the concentration of PM10 was 18.68 micrograms/cubic meter and at 2am on January 1, 2022 it reached 69.02 micrograms/cubic meter. The increase in numbers from the station in Nadezhda is drastic - from 23.33 micrograms/cubic meter at 6pm to 170.52 micrograms/cubic meter in one hour.


By comparison, on December 29 the PM concentration at individual monitoring points in the hours around midnight varied from 40 to 100 micrograms/cubic meter, and on December 30 it is only 5-6 micrograms/cubic meter.


According to the legal requirements, the average daily norm for PM10 is 50 micrograms/cubic meter.


In many of the other large cities in the country there is a serious increase in the concentration of fine dust. At one of the stations in Plovdiv the concentration rises from 16.61 micrograms/cubic meter at 6pm to 31.81 micrograms/cubic meter at midnight. For the same period here follows data for the cities: Varna - from 20.43 to 42.88 micrograms/cubic meter; Vidin - from 6.80 to 30.85; Dobrich - from 14.99 to 35.08; Blagoevgrad - from 19.37 to 174.70; Kardzhali - from 43.88 to 146.44; Pernik - from 4.10 to 66.13; Burgas - from 46.66 to 127.47 micrograms/cubic meter.


Detailed hourly data for PM10 concentration retrieved from the automatic air quality measuring stations of the EEA across the entire country for 31.12.2021 and 01.01.2022 can be found in the table here.