Smog in Bishkek: Myths and Reality


Smog in Bishkek: Myths and Reality

December 2, 2021

Institution Affiliation

This research was carried out with a grant provided by the American University of Central Asia for the purpose of conducting research on the issue of air quality in Bishkek city, the Kyrgyz Republic.

Kanat Sultanliev is an Executive Director of the Tian Shan Policy Center at the American University of Central Asia. His research interests are broad and include key topics related to sustainable development.

Dr. Rahat Sabyrbekov is post-doc researcher at the OSCE Academy and taught many years at Economics program at AUCA. He specializes in environmental economics.

Dr. Zheenbek Kulenbekov is an Associate Professor and Head of Applied Geology Department at American University of Central Asia. He focuses on environmental safety including hydrology studies, water quality monitoring, and environmental impact assessment.


Main objective of the research is to improve current understanding of the causes and impacts of the winter air pollution in Bishkek. Analysis of the extreme pollution events in Bishkek during the observed period showed that the impact of the climatic conditions on air pollution level in Bishkek is very significant.

Based on the inventories of air pollution in other countries and approximate quantification of themajorPM2.5sources in Bishkek, we came up to the following estimates:


  • The source contributing most toanthropogenicPM2.5pollution in Bishkek during the average heating season is “Households and other buildings not connected to CHP"; 
  • Next most important source is CHP. However, it is difficult to estimate how much CHP contributes to the PM2.5 levels in Bishkek without detailed information on the effectiveness of the emission control system installed at the plant;
  • Third most important source of the PM2.5 winter pollution is road transport.


The coal-based emission has increased by 22% in last six years. The coal consumption has been increasing and the data shows that this growth trend has been stable.


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