Crisis helping to clean air in Thessaloniki

The economic crisis has had at least one positive side effect for Thessaloniki as the quality of air in the northern port city has improved vastly thanks largely to fewer people using their cars and homeowners turning on their oil-fired boilers for shorter periods.

According to statistics made public by the Thessaloniki Municipality?s environmental department, the number of airborne particles decreased by 16 percent last year.

All monitoring stations reported pollution levels that were within the limits prescribed by the European Union, according to the municipality?s chief environmental officer, Maximos Petrakakis.

The improvement in air quality has been mainly attributed to fewer residents using their cars – traffic is estimated to have dropped by 25 percent – and a reduction in the use of heating oil.

?Declining demand also led to a reduction in industrial output and the closure of some businesses,? said Petrakakis. ?The recession has led to a reduction in emissions from the three key sources: transportation, heating and industry.?

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