October 30, 2018 / 1:45 PM / in 19 days

Macedonian and Bosnian cities struggle with pollution

TETOVO, Macedonia, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Even in mild autumn mornings, people gasp for breath in acrid air in Tetovo, an ancient city at the foothills of the Shar Mountain and one of the top 10 most polluted places in Europe.

Many fear that as winter approaches it will only get worse. In the past, authorities were forced to close schools due to smog.

A 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) study, listed Tetovo in western Macedonia and eastern Bosnia’s industrial city of Tuzla among the 10 European cities with the highest concentration of toxic particles.

A World Bank estimate says that around 1,350 lives are lost annually in Macedonia, due to fine particulate matter air pollution, while costs to the economy amount to over 200 million euros ($225 million).

Tetovo and Tuzla are heavily reliant on high-polluting lignite coal-powered industry and domestic heating. High emissions from older vehicles are also a major contributor.

Writing by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Alison Williams

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