Blanket over city a ‘toxic soup’

As thick fog over Thessaloniki yesterday caused traffic and air travel disruptions, scientists said the atmosphere in the northern city was one of the most toxic in Europe and posed a serious health risk. Tests on the air in Thessaloniki show that atmospheric pollution particles surpass the recommended maximum level 210 days a year, as compared to the European Union suggested limit of 35 days a year. This is a considerably worse record than Athens, which surpasses the maximum level 175 days a year, and 20 other EU cities, according to the pan-European study. Even municipal officials in Thessaloniki described the local atmosphere as a «dangerous chemical soup.» «It is extremely irresponsible of us to tolerate such a situation when our own health and that of our children is at stake,» said Nikos Mousiopoulos, dean of the Aristotle University’s engineering school. Thessaloniki has not even applied basic measures to curb pollution, Mousiopoulos said, adding that traffic restrictions would make a big difference.