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Air Quality In Plovdiv: How Clean Is The City's Air?

Are you concerned with the air quality of any place you relocate to before you move? Is air quality a major factor in your decision? We assume you have moved to Plovdiv or plan to move here in the near future. If you haven't done your air quality research yet, don't worry, we've done it for you. The purpose of this article is to provide you insight into the air quality and detailed analysis for Plovdiv.

Why Does Air Quality Matter So Much?

  • Approximately 7 million people die prematurely each year as a result of air pollution, according to WHO
  • The air pollution responsible for one third of all strokes, lung cancers, and heart diesases
  • Your lungs can function at their best when you breathe in lots of fresh air. Plus, oxygen to your brain = more brain power.
  • It doesn't matter whether the air is clean or dirty; every day, you breathe in 10,000 liters of air. Nevertheless, there is evidence that the cleaner the air you breathe, the longer you will live.
  • Oxygen levels in your blood affect how much seratonin you release. Seratonin enhances a sense of happiness and well-being, so the more fresh air you get, the better your mood will be.
What determines whether the air is clean or polluted?

Air quality can be measured by looking at particulate matter levels in the atmosphere. We don't want to get too technical here, but to understand the air quality we need to know two key terms. ''Pm10'', ''Pm2.5'' are the two major pollutants in Plovdiv. How much of each of these pollutants are in the air will determine how clean or polluted it is. 


The Pm10 particulate matter is defined as anything with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less, including smoke, dust, soot, acids, salts, mold spores bacteria and metals. As Pm10 particles are extremely small, they act like a gas. A high concentration of PM10 can lead to a variety of health complications such as coughing and wheezing, asthma attacks, bronchitis, high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, and premature death. 


Pm2.5 is the term for fine particles, that have a diameter less than 2.5 micrometres (more than 100 times thinner than a human hair) and are suspended in the air for a longer period of time. Particles of this kind are produced as a result of burning fuel and chemical reactions in the atmosphere. The main source of Pm2.5 is combustion. Pm2.5 is mainly produced by fireplaces, car engines, and coal - or natural gas-fired power plants. Because they bypass many of our body's defenses, particles under 2.5 microns can pose a significant health risk to humans. Pm2.5 is more dangerous than Pm10 because it can reach deep into the lungs and even enter the bloodstream. 

Air Quality Index

The Air Quality Index is used by government agencies as a way of communicating to the public how polluted the air is today, or how polluted it is predicted to become in the future. Higher AQI values increase public health risks. The AQI works like a thermometer ranging from 0 to 500 degrees. AQI, however, does not represent the temperature, but rather the amount of pollution in the air. 

In Plovdiv, How is The Air Quality?

Bulgaria Executive Environment Agency (EEA) measures air quality constantly with two AQI monitors placed in the Kamenitsa and Trakia neighbourhoods. Considering the data provided by this monitor, Plovdiv has a fair air quality on an annual average basis. This is due to its relatively low population of 350k inhabitants and its vast green cover with mature trees everywhere. However, AQI values in Plovdiv don't remain steady throughout the year. All outdoor activities, eating out and bringing babies outside tend to be safe most of the year, but winter season is entirely different story. Unfortunately, a great number of people living on the outskirts of Plovdiv depend on coal burning stoves for heating. According to 2018 data, 76% of the air pollution in Plovdiv comes from this unsustainable heating method, while industrial activities and transport are responsible for 24%. This causes the air quality to decrease during the cold months of the winter season. In spite of the fact that it does not reach hazardous levels for human health, some members of vulnerable groups may be affected, such as the elderly, babies, and those who already suffer from chronic respiratory illnesses like asthma. 

What Can We Do to Improve Air Quality in Plovdiv?

  • To reduce the use of plastic, get yourself a reusable shopping bag. The majority of rubbish collected from the bins is burned to get rid of it. Fewer plastic bags means less rubbish being burned.
  • Make wise choices when shopping. Avoid buying products from companies that cause air pollution and don't care about this issue. 
  • If you commute to work by car alone, try using public transportation, cycling, or even walking a few times each week.
  • Inform the authorities if you find anyone illegally burning trash.

What can you do to protect yourself from air pollution?

Monitoring Plovdiv air quality index daily and adjusting your outdoor activities accordingly would be the best strategy to protect yourself from the harm of air pollution. There are many websites and mobile applications to check those values. If you are reading this on a mobile device, just scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will see the AQI widget we placed on our website. You'll find the widget on the right side of the page if you're reading this post on a desktop. You should avoid airing out your home when the air quality is poor. Close all windows until the air quality improves. If you are in the sensitive groups or suffer from chronic respiratory illnesses, wear a protective mask if you have to go outside when the air is poor. There are two types of masks meant to successfully hold find particulars. These masks are N95 and FFP2. And last but not least, do your sporting activities like running or walking in green spaces instead of next to busy roads. There are numerous parks and green areas in Plovdiv that can be used for outdoor sporting activities.
Plovdiv's Air Quality Index Values for Last 365 Days. Source: https://airindex.eea.europa.eu

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