Partnership for Improving Air Quality in the Western Balkans

The main goals of this regional project in the Western Balkans, spanning from 2022 to 2026, are to equip stakeholders with the tools required to understand the air quality situation, leading causes of air pollution, and necessary improvements.

In collaboration with the Swedish EPA and UNICEF, SMHI is implementing national air quality data dissemination web portals and a GIS plugin for air pollutant emission inventorying in the Western Balkans. Simultaneously, we're fostering a network of experts and providing training on emission inventory production.

Partnership for Improved Air Quality in the Western Balkans photo 2
Air pollution over Tirana, Albania, December 2022

Technical tools for improving air quality

We've developed an advanced open-source web client that local authorities can use to share their official historical and real-time data. We involve data owners in the design process and offer support for local implementation.

Additionally, we've created a plugin for QGIS to simplify air pollutant emission inventorying. This plugin has been tested against data from North Macedonia and Montenegro. Training is provided for local environmental authorities to build their own inventories in accordance with the EU standard methods. These efforts aim to help civil servants gather comprehensive emission data sets and receive afterward air pollutant dispersion maps over their city from SMHI.

Expert network and knowledge exchange

Regular large meetings of air quality experts are hosted in the project area. These meetings provide stakeholders with opportunities to share experiences, collaborate for better air quality, and enhance their knowledge of air quality management techniques and policies.

Project impact

Upon project completion, the official data portal will be installed in at least three Western Balkans countries, and the Emission Inventorying plugin is expected to be used by approximately ten municipalities. Both the data portal and QGIS plugin are free and open-source projects. The use of both in EU context is already under consideration.

Partnership for Improved Air Quality in the Western Balkans photo 1
Network meeting participants in North Macedonia, November 2023