according to the Center of the Hydrometeorological Service of the Republic of Uzbekistan, is among the leaders in the level of air pollution in recent years, along with Tashkent and other industrial cities of the republic
Main causes of air pollution
in Almalyk: emissions from two city-forming enterprises: a mining and metallurgical plant and a chemical plant (exhaust gases, unauthorized burning of dead wood and garbage, and the operation of catering points that cook food using wood and coal)
I feel pollutions
"Every day is a test of endurance for me. Since childhood, I've had a heightened sensitivity to smells. I feel this world in all its "aromas." I always know exactly what the neighbors in my building or those in the next one are cooking, for how long household waste has been lying around by the time it is picked up for removal, what days and hours emissions are produced at the copper and the chemical plants of our city. Yes, this is my perception of the world," says Tamara Aimatova, 64, from Almalyk.
The cameraman and I are sitting in a small room in her apartment, where she lives with her son, and we actually see the way she "fights" polluted air: tightly closed windows, an air purifier, and complete cleanliness around: wet dusting and mopping are obligatory daily chores. Dust also makes our heroine feel unwell.
I was seven years old when I first had allergy symptoms. When I was examined to identify the allergen, it turned out that I was allergic to almost everything: pollen, wool, dust, chemicals, gases. It is especially difficult in Almalyk, where the problem of air pollution is daunting, like in any other industrial city. Besides industrial emissions, the air is polluted by the exhaust fumes of cars, whose number in the city is growing every year. When leaves are burned nearby or, even worse, household waste, I am probably the one who feels it first in the area, too,"
– shares Tamara Aimatova.
The only salvation for Tamara is going out of town. She says that, for her and her son, who has the same genetic predisposition to smells, fresh air is the most precious thing in life.
Tamara Aimatova, 64, Almalyk city
Tamara Aimatova, 64, Almalyk city
What are we breathing?
According to the official data of the Center of the Hydrometeorological Service of the Republic of Uzbekistan, observations in the city of Almalyk are carried out at three stationary stations. Samples are taken daily for ten ingredients three times a day. Air pollution is measured based on the values of the impurities concentration. The degree of pollution is assessed by comparing actual concentrations with hygienic standards: the maximum permissible concentration of impurities in the ambient air.
According to official statistics for the last three years, the main pollutants here are sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and phenol.
First of all, this negatively affects people's lungs. It may lead over time to inflammation of the lower respiratory tract and bronchial edema. For a long time, the disease can be asymptomatic; most often, it manifests itself after the age of forty,"
– explains the pulmonologist of the Almalyk city medical association Asiya Khaidarova.
How to change it?
The pulmonologist is positive that it is necessary to take measures at the governmental level to improve the state of the environment. Citizens in the days of gas pollution in the city and in the process of production work should use personal protective equipment. In general, people should maintain a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet, undergo medical examinations at least once a year, and receive treatment in a timely manner when the first signs of diseases are detected.
Uzbekistan, Almalyk city, 2020
What's being done to improve air quality
With the support from Zamin Foundation and UNEP, the Center of the Hydrometeorological Service of Uzbekistan is implementing the project titled "Automation of Monitoring of Atmospheric Air Pollution."
To date, the first stage of the project has been implemented: 63 observation points have been combined into a single analytical center. Monitoring results are posted on the public online platform https://monitoring.meteo.uz/ and in the AirUz mobile application.
Air quality monitoring will be carried out hourly in accordance with international standards. Citizens will be able to learn about the level of air pollution in their areas of residence.
The second stage envisages the installation of automatic air monitoring stations throughout the republic and the adoption of international air monitoring standards.
Integration of monitoring results into the Unified Geoinformation Database of the Republic and international information systems.
Hopefully, the control measures will be "backed up" by real measures to prevent environmental pollution and will help prevent related diseases.
Official data on air pollution in the city of Almalyk do not exceed the maximum permissible concentration. Therefore, we present air quality data from open sources for the city of Tashkent.