You probably remember old Sci-Fi movies in which mankind is facing extermination, the cities are in ruins, and all that remains is the wasteland and the great pollution of Mother Earth? We don’t want to scare you, but it looks like this scenario could become a reality. Especially for the Balkan folks, who have cities that are potential winners in the category – So toxic that you are going to have to run to Mars?! Jokes aside, the Balkan cities from our list are alarmingly toxic and we are trying to raise awareness and hopefully help people realize that the toxicity of our cities (singing the S.O.A.D. song “Toxicity” in our heads) is a one way ticket to ghost town and nobody wants to get to the last station on that ride…
Macedonia – Tetovo
The place of the Alexander the Great, the landlocked country which has a lot to offer, especially air pollution. Don’t be surprised if you visit Skopje and the air smells like plastic, it is a common situation there. Do you believe that their authorities spray streets with some chemicals in order to “kill” the pollution there? Of course, with no results. But Skopje is a little “kitty cat” compared to Macedonia’s other city – Tetova, which carries the title “the most polluted city in Europe”! So says the World Health Organization, and we will just add that if you go there, pack the mask in the suitcase. Knock on wood!
Bosnia and Herzegovina – Sarajevo
Someone calls it “the land of war”, someone calls it “a place to discover”. WHO calls it “the land of pollution” and the country main representative in this discipline? Sarajevo, of course. Do you believe that the pollution mortality in BiH is 2,000% higher than in the US? And that the city of Sarajevo is the most toxic place in this country? Actually, thanks to geographic position and the mountains (which this city is surrounded with), Sarajevo is trapped, possessed by the dirty fuels and exhaust fumes. Especially during the winter. So if you decide to visit Sarajevo and stroll down the old town Bascarsija, try that during the spring and summer – you will “smell the right thing”!
Montenegro – Pljevlja
Medieval villages, beautiful beaches, rugged mountains… No doubt that “Black Mountain” is one beautiful country, with a lot to offer to every visitor. But, the Universe is all “yin-yang” thing, so Montenegro also has some issues with the pollution. Her competitor in this toxic race is the city of Pljevlja. This city located in the north part of the country, with a thermal power plant nearby, which makes this place full of dust. Almost daily. People who lived there say that every day is an agony, people can’t see the city because of dust, and because their eyes are burning. At this moment, our mind imagines a scene from the “Resident Evil”… For the lovers of the post-apocalyptic places, Pljevlja is a top-notch place to visit! Others… well, try with the beautiful cities more south, near the Adriatic Sea.
Serbia – Bor
If you want to try some evil schnapps, get familiar with a totally unknown stranger who will take you to some bad-ass party, you will remember forever… or just want to eat “as a man”, you probably should visit Serbia. But be careful – if someone says to you “let’s go to Bor”, consider getting protection. From air pollution, of course. Because Bor is one of the biggest copper mines in Europe, and it has a rich pollution history – from the acid rains to radiation. People of Bor fought against pollution for years, but the results were rather minimal. So if somehow you decide to visit Bor, don’t worry. They have a really special place nearby, beautiful Bor Lake, that is truly worth seeing and far away from the city air.
Bulgaria – Sofia
Have you ever heard of “Rosa Damascena”? It is actually a rare type of rose, and her oil is truly a treasure – it is used as a base element in cosmetics and perfumery all over the world. Well, Bulgaria is a producer of this oil. That is why they call it – land of roses. Unfortunately, our last competitor does not smell like roses. We are talking about Sofia, the capital of the “rose country”. According to AirBG.info, from October 2017 to March 2018, air pollution norms were exceeded about 70 times. The main polluters were motor vehicle traffic and solid fuel heating. So no wonder that Sofia is not the “Bulgarian Rose” anymore, and that pollution is one of the biggest problems in this city.