Tirana is the third most polluted city in Europe, according to the Numbeo Pollution Index 2020.
The top spot was taken by Tetovo in North Macedonia Macedonia, followed by Chelyabinsk in Russia. Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia came in at number five followed by Dnipro in Ukraine and Naples in Italy.
The least polluted cities in Europe, as per the list is Helsinki in Finland, Reykjavik in Iceland, and Malmo in Sweden.
In terms of Tirana’s global ranking, it comes in at number 31 out of 314. In 2018 it ranked at number 38 meaning it has got more polluted over the last 12 months. The world’s most polluted city is Tetovo, followed by Kabul Afghanistan and Faridabad in India. In global terms, Tirana ranks alongside Marrakech Morocco and Amritsar India.
The Numbeo Pollution Index is an annual list that ranks world cities based primarily on surveys but also on data from the World Health Organisation and other institutions when necessary. It provides an estimation of the overall pollution in a city, looking specifically at air pollution and water pollution.
In June 2019, the United Nations reported that citizens in Balkan countries are suffering from reduced life expectancy due to “alarming levels of air pollution”. Data from air quality management institutions in Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia was monitored over the course of a year. It showed that citizens of the Balkans were exposed to some of the highest concentrations of air pollution in Europe, “up to five times the EU guideline levels”.
Despite Mayor Erion Veliaj’s efforts to make Tirana a green and “child friendly” city over the last 5 years, the situation has deteriorated further. Bike lanes, tree planting, electric taxis, and other efforts publicized by the Municipality do not seem to have had any impact.
Tirana citizens also do not have access to safe drinking water from the taps and most do not have water on a 24/7 basis.