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The economic crisis reduces pollution in major cities

Autor: Alexandru Nastase 20 Mar 2009 - 00:00

The economic problems that have hit the country in the recent months have brought unexpected good news: the pollution in major cities has decreased. Not significantly, but it is the first decrease in the past nine years, according to the National Agency for the Environment Protection.

At the middle of 2008, an European report showed that the most polluted countries in the EU are Romania and Bulgaria, the quotations being exceeded for several parameters. The document shows that the Bulgarians used to breathe an annual average of 55 micro-grams of dust, while the Romanians inhaled 52 micro-grams of dust. The EU average is 23 micro-grams of dust. "The sources" of pollution were the cars, that multiplied a lot over the last years, the industry, and the booming real estate projects that faded the green spaces, which were replaced by buildings. Things have changed radically in the last half year.

With the help of the city halls in the country, the National Agency for Environmental Protection centralized data showing that, from the beginning of the crisis, the traffic was reduced by 5% to 30% in all the big cities. The companies do not make as many deliveries, many Romanians abandoned the leased vehicles while others cannot afford to pay for the fuel and use the public transportation. From the environment point of view, this translates into fewer emissions of harmful substances. That is less pollution. Bucharest, Iasi, Constanta, Timisoara, Cluj are the first cities to benefit from cleaner air as a result of the crisis. Reducing traffic, especially during the day, meant a significant  decrease in the noise pollution in the mentioned cities as well.

The real estate market is among those that have suffered the most due to the crisis. Therefore, the investments were frozen. Entire building sites in all corners of the country wait for the end of the crisis.

The financial problems have determined many investors to defer or cancel the projects they had planned. Many of them were to build on the green areas at the periphery of cities which would have obviously been destroyed. The freezing of such projects has saved whole hectares of forests and other green areas. That means more unpolluted air. The Agencies  for the Environment Protection in Sibiu, Brasov, Bucharest, Tulcea, Constanta, Giurgiu, Drobeta Turnu Severin and Oradea reported "cleaner air" in the cities in the first three months of this year, because the real estate crisis got worse.

The economic crisis led to the total or temporary closing of many factories in the cities. The news came from Bucharest, Constanta, Tulcea, Timisoara, Piatra Neamt, Iasi, Targu-Mures, Copsa Mica, Vaslui, Barlad. The closing of these factories brought more unemployed people, but fewer polluting emission in the atmosphere.

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