Kiev Air Is Now the Most Polluted in the World Due to Recent Chernobyl Fires

Thankfully, the fires didn't pose a radiation risk.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Ukraine's capital Kiev has been suffering from unusually high pollution levels due to fires around the now-defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant. On Friday, the region recorded the worst pollution levels in the world, reported Reuters.


No radiation risk

Ukraine's health ministry, however, announced that there was no radiation risk from the fires.

"Smog has been formed in Kiev and Kiev region. It does not carry a chemical or radiological threat, the radiation background is within normal limits," the ministry said in a statement.

Citizens were encouraged to stay indoors to protect their health, something they were already doing due to coronavirus restrictions.

"This smoke can cause headaches, coughs, difficulty breathing, eye irritation, inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose and larynx, as well as a number of diseases and allergies," the ministry explained.

The fire was started by arsonists in the forests around Chernobyl earlier this month and was then put out this week. Unfortunately, heavy winds resulted in new blazes breaking out again on Thursday evening.

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The neighboring Zhytomyr region had also reported some fires. Those caused more damage, with some houses being destroyed and a car accident being caused that killed several people.

By Friday, the fires had been contained, and the state emergency service said there was no open fire across the Chernobyl station area or in Zhymomyr.

This did not, however, immediately clear the pollution in Kiev. Kiev is a city of roughly 3.7 million people, and according to Swiss monitor IQAir, on Friday, it had the highest level of air pollution of any major world cities.

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