“Hundreds of people wearing white masks gathered in Pristina on Wednesday as authorities banned cars from driving in city center to counter pollution so bad it sometimes exceeds the pollution in Chinese cities.

Protest organizers played a sound of a person breathing deeply. The crowd chanted ‘Don’t poison us,’ ‘Help’ and ‘Let’s save Pristina.’

At noon on Wednesday, the air quality index measured by the U.S. embassy in Pristina was 262, a level deemed unhealthy and worse than Shanghai and Hangzhou in China. In recent days, it has reached 400, or hazardous, and people were told to stay indoors.

A 2013 World Bank study showed air pollution in Kosovo was estimated to cause 852 premature deaths and 318 new cases of chronic bronchitis each year.” (RFE/RL)