Spring rain is like that, springy and sporadic! However, almost every time it rains here in Tirana a horrifying reality comes to light. I’m talking about the extensive level of smog and dust in the air.
Tirana is located in an ancient and beautiful valley. Its original inhabitants settled here because it was and continues to be a great location. The valley is situated between the Dajti mountains range to the east, whilst on the north and west the city is surrounded by hills. It makes for an almost steady level of mild temperatures throughout the year. No, it is not like the tropics, but very Mediterranean weather.
However, since the advent of democracy there has been a major internal migration to major cities. This has produced a high demand for apartments.
It is this rampant increase in all sorts of constructions that continues to lay dust and dirt all over the city, for over a decade now. And the dust never settles because it is constantly stirred by the massive number of cars and ongoing constructions.
The roads, also, are on a constant mode of reconstruction and expansion, whilst the cars produce cancerogenous smoke from the worst possible diesel sold to all Albanians. It is a verifiable dirty and dusty city!
It is always obvious if you ever travel into the city during daytime. Over 95 percent of the times you are able see the smog cloud hanging over the entire city like a dirty blanket.
But when that dirty blanket comes down by some spring rain then the horrifying evidence is there for all to see. It is most obvious on the countless cars parked outside or on the windows of your house. This happens pretty much every time it rains. Otherwise, the dust comes in to cover all your furniture.
I’ve realized that the dust and smoke is not as heavy if you are living in the outskirts of the city but in the centre of town it’s where it is the scariest!
The realization that all of us are constantly breathing the same smoke and dust makes you want to leave town immediately except you don’t have the luxury to move out as easily. And even for those who are fortunate enough to live on the outskirts of the city, they still have to commute in by car every day, which makes for another challenge of spending time in a smog filled traffic.
P.S. Here you’ll find an older post about: Living in a dirty city (2013)