And another record for Romania! The city with the cleanest air in Europe is Cluj-Napoca.
That’s at least what the French “Association Nationale pour la Préservation et l’Amélioration de la Qualité de l’Air” proclaimed. But they only examined the air quality of the 100 largest cities in Europe, which means that there may be countless smaller cities with even cleaner air, of course.
When I was in Cluj last December, it certainly didn’t look like clean air. I could hardly see to the top of churches as I stood in front of them, let alone overlook the city from the hill across the river that I had climbed to get an overview.
To be fair, I was just unlucky on that dreary winter day, and Cluj is a rather beautiful city most of the time.
Always skeptical about bold claims like this, I try to take a deeper look at the methodology behind the statistics. In this case, the authors of the study are very open about the underlying flaws and explain why Cluj came first:
In effect, it’s a lack of measuring stations that helped to propel Cluj to the top of this table. There were only two stations in town, compared to 48 in Berlin for example, much reducing the likelihood of any threshold being exceeded. And the stations in Cluj don’t even measure fine particles.
So basically, this study is worthless. One wonders why it was done at all.
Targu Mures, about 70 km from Cluj and where I live, definitely couldn’t lay claim to the title of the cleanest air in Europe, for we have the Azomures chemical plant here, which has been caught repeatedly, or should I say regularly, in exceeding the legal limits for pollution.
Tomorrow, 13 August 2015, there will be a protest in Targu Mures against this ongoing pollution, at 1700 in Piata Victoriei in front of the town hall. I will be there!
(The photos in Cluj were taken by my brother in December 2014. I took the photo of Azomures on 6 August 2015.)