Bucharest: Air Quality in retrospective

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Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, has been facing significant air quality issues for many years. The city’s air pollution levels are mainly caused by the burning of fossil fuels, heavy traffic, and industrial activities. In 2020, Bucharest’s air quality was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures implemented by the Romanian government.

During the lockdown, many businesses were closed, and people were forced to stay indoors. As a result, the city’s air quality improved significantly, with a 43% reduction in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels, according to data from the European Environment Agency. This improvement was due to the decrease in vehicular traffic, which is one of the main sources of air pollution in Bucharest.

However, as lockdown measures were eased, air pollution levels started to rise again. In the summer of 2020, the city was hit by a heatwave, which worsened the air quality even further. The high temperatures and lack of rain caused an increase in the concentration of ground-level ozone, which can have serious health effects, especially for people with respiratory issues.

The Romanian government has implemented several measures to address air pollution in Bucharest. In 2020, the government introduced a new environmental tax, which aims to reduce the use of polluting vehicles in the city. The tax applies to all vehicles that do not meet Euro 5 or Euro 6 emission standards, and the revenue generated from this tax is used to finance public transport improvements.

A program was launched to replace old, polluting vehicles with electric or hybrid cars. The program offers subsidies of up to 45,000 lei (approximately $10,000) to individuals and companies who purchase electric or hybrid vehicles.

While the COVID-19 pandemic and the Romanian government’s measures have led to some improvements in Bucharest’s air quality, more needs to be done to address this issue. The government must continue to implement policies that encourage the use of public transportation, reduce the number of polluting vehicles on the roads, and promote the use of electric or hybrid cars. Additionally, awareness campaigns should be launched to educate people about the health effects of air pollution and encourage them to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Only by working together can we improve the air quality in Bucharest and protect the health of its residents.


In 2021, the air quality in Bucharest was once again a major issue, with high levels of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

According to data from the European Environment Agency, Bucharest ranked as the third most polluted capital city in the European Union in 2021. The city’s air quality was primarily affected by traffic, industrial activities, and heating systems during the winter months. The high levels of pollutants have significant health effects, with studies linking air pollution to respiratory and cardiovascular problems and even premature death.

To address this issue, the Romanian government has taken several steps in recent years. In 2021, the government launched a new initiative to reduce air pollution by promoting the use of bicycles and electric scooters. The project aims to encourage citizens to use alternative modes of transportation, thus reducing the number of cars on the roads and improving air quality.

The government has also introduced new regulations to limit the use of polluting fuels in the heating sector. As of 2021, homeowners must replace their old, polluting heating systems with new, energy-efficient alternatives. The government is also offering subsidies to help cover the costs of these upgrades.

Despite these measures, air quality in Bucharest remains a significant challenge. In the winter months, the city’s air quality is further affected by the burning of solid fuels, such as wood and coal, for heating. This has prompted the government to introduce stricter regulations to limit the use of these fuels, as well as to promote the use of cleaner alternatives.

Furthermore, the Romanian government has pledged to transition to renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, in the coming years. This move will not only help reduce air pollution but also contribute to the country’s efforts to combat climate change.

In conclusion, the air quality in Bucharest remains a significant challenge for the city’s residents and the Romanian government. While efforts have been made to reduce pollution levels, more needs to be done to ensure that the air quality meets the standards set by the World Health Organization. The government must continue to implement policies that promote the use of alternative modes of transportation, as well as cleaner heating and energy systems. Only by working together can we improve the air quality in Bucharest and protect the health of its residents.

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