Greenpeace Russia has named Moscow and St. Petersburg the most polluted cities in the country with the highest concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic particle released from diesel fumes.
Environmental issues including air pollution, landfills and a proposed bottling plant have galvanized Russians to take to the streets over the past year. Public polling says an overwhelming majority of Russians are concerned about the environment, and nearly half are unsatisfied with the environmental situation in their own regions.
Moscow’s air had the highest NO2 levels out of 15 ranked Russian cities, Greenpeace Russia has said, using satellite imagery from mid-2018 to May 2019.
St. Petersburg and the Siberian mining city of Chelyabinsk tied for second with less than half of Moscow’s NO2 concentration, while Chelyabinsk and Novosibirsk came in fourth and fifth.
“Moscow and St. Petersburg are the most polluted primarily due to transportation, as well as industry,” Rashid Alimov, head of Greenpeace Russia’s energy program, told The Moscow Times.
Scientists associate NO2 pollution with diseases such as diabetes, stroke and asthma.