Bitola is a middle-sized city in the Southern part of Northern Macedonia. In 2019, the air quality in the area was very bad. The city was equipped with three reference stations, but most of the time they were out of order or under maintenance, so they could not be relied on to provide information about air quality for the citizens. An independent local society decided to act by starting a platform called “Take a breath” (ПЛАТФОРМА ЗЕМИ ЗДИВ) to raise funds for developing air quality monitoring network in the city.
They managed to attract the attention of the local media, SMEs, Industry and Corporations. Within a year they had installed 10 Airly sensors and created a hybrid network with the official reference stations.
The entire initiative was made by citizens who care about the environment and their families, without any supervision from the local authorities.
As a result, a large part of the city is covered by the measurements. Over 85,000 citizens of Bitola city can access the Airly app every day to manage their outdoor activities. With access to this information, the local community have become more aware of the dangers and causes. They realised that much of the pollution came from “low emission” sources, and by changing their everyday habits and using clean energy to heat their houses, they are improving the situation in their city.
"Take a breath" association is planning to expand the network to 20 devices in 2020.