The highest nitrogen dioxide levels have been measured in Prague center, in the crossing of Sokolska and Jecna streets, which is one of the 18 localities with the highest pollution in the Czech Republic, Miroslav Suta, from the Environment Centre, told reporters on Wednesday.
The center was measuring nitrogen dioxide concentrations in some 200 localities in nine regional capitals from March till April.
Prague fares the worst in a 2018 study comparing air pollution in ten metropolises in the European Union (EU).
To breathe the air in Prague for four days is like smoking one cigarette a day, according to the study results.
Along with Prague, the most attractive tourist destination in the Czech Republic that welcomed 7.5 million visitors last year, those are Paris, London, Vienna, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dublin, Milan, Rome, and Istanbul.
Experts compared the pollution by airborne particles in the centers of these cities with similar levels of micro-particles that smokers breathe in from one cigarette.
Mr. Suta points to long-term solutions to improve the air in Prague, such as the German model of obligatory eco-friendly labels on car windscreens.
“The creation of green zones where only the vehicles meeting the new emissions standards could enter would have the strongest effect,” he said, adding that another measure might be the introduction of a toll for driving into the center.
Low-emission zones have been planned in Prague for years. They were to take effect in 2015 originally and then two years later, but the City Hall has not yet agreed on their final version.