Kyiv took the top spot in the ratings of the world’s most polluted cities on April 16. According to IQAir, as of 10 p.m. Kyiv time, with a score of 238 US AQI, the Ukrainian capital sits comfortably above Chinese Shenyang (172 US AQI).
Kyiv’s high score translates as "very unhealthy", and Kyiv residents are advised to “close their windows to avoid dirty outdoor air” by the Swiss company. Ukrainian capital is the only European city in the top 10, with only Bulgaria's capital Sofia in 17th place.
This result comes as no surprise to residents of Kyiv, who have been complaining about poor air quality for the past week, which was exacerbated further by a fire that broke out over 100 hectares of forest in the Chernobyl exclusion zone on April 4. At its peak, radiation levels were 10 times the norm. Despite the reported extinguishment 10 days later, the fires reignited on April 16 due to a sandstorm in the area.
On top of that, some Ukrainians in rural areas have a tradition of burning dry grass and dead wood every spring and fall, which inevitably leads to pollution when done en masse throughout the country.
The Kyiv City authorities are reporting combustion products in the air. According to the message on Kyiv City State Administration on Telegram, residents of the capital are advised to close their windows and refrain from going outside.
The reason cited is"fires in the Zhytomyr region and the Exclusion Zone, as well as the northwest wind."