Top 10 problems in Yerevan

Case Analysis

In windy weather Yerevan is swept with dust that gets into your eyes and lungs, which, of course, can bring to many health issues. The Ministry of Health of Armenia notes that, in particular, cardiovascular diseases are aggravated - coronary heart disease and strokes, acute and chronic respiratory diseases and lung cancer are possible.

According to the report of the Swiss company IQAir, in 2022 Armenia ranked 22nd among 131 countries with the most polluted air. And according to the ranking of the most environmentally friendly countries in the world, which is compiled annually by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, in 2018 Armenia ranked 63rd among 180 countries, whereas, in 2023 dropped to 102nd place. Yerevan is recognized as the dirtiest city in Armenia.

What influences the deterioration of air quality and the high concentration of dust in it? How could these causes be eliminated? Let's figure it out.

The reasons for this phenomenon can be divided into two categories - external and internal.


Quarries of non-metallic materials

The main source of dust in Yerevan is the presence of 19 acting quarries around the city. We should understand that the dust flying towards the city contains heavy metals, albeit in a minimal amount.

What can be done with this source of dust? Close all quarries, cover them with earth and plant lawn and trees. This would be the ideal solution.

The practical solution lays with one of the most effective ways to limit the spread of dust from mines: it is the installation of windscreens. Imagine a 20 meters high metal construction around each quarry. If the Municipality fails to build such barriers around the functioning quarries, then they can, at least, limit their work by forcing the owners to install such screens. Also, a dust suppression system can be added to the windscreens by spraying water under high pressure.

Several-kilometer-wide forest strips can become additional and necessary measures to protect Yerevan from quarries’ dust. They will become a natural protection of the city from dust. In addition, forest rows also serve as a city filter from landfills odors.

And most importantly, the city should determine the minimum distance between the quarries and the city. So, for example, in Yerevan there is a quarry, which is located at a distance of only 500 meters from residential buildings.


1. Construction sites
2. City wastelands
3. Open soil
4. Factories operating in the city

Construction sites

Construction works are always accompanied by dust emissions. This is an inevitable process but, of course, there are measures to reduce it.

1. During excavation, loading or demolition work a dust suppression system must be used.

2. All construction sites should be equipped with wheel washing facilities. Any vehicle leaving the construction site should undergo a wheel treatment. At some construction sites in Yerevan (for example, on Komitas Avenue) the wheels of exiting trucks are washed, but it is completely inefficient since they simply do not have a ramp on which the car should stand.

3. The volume of storage of bulk materials at the construction site should be limited.

4. Transportation of bulk materials on trucks without an awning should be prohibited. Relevant laws and requirements exist in the Armenia though not everyone comply with them.

And for all this to work it is necessary to strengthen the work of the regulatory bodies.

City wastelands

Yerevan has a large number of wastelands, abandoned construction sites, parking lots, neglected parks. As a rule, the soil is covered with sand and gravel materials there: dried soil, crushed stone and sand. It is the particles of these materials that hit the eyes so painfully during a strong wind.
Private land
It is necessary to develop a law on the responsibility of land owners for the state of the lands. This refers to the abandoned and active construction sites, residential private houses, parking lots, driveways or public places. In addition, all sand and gravel cover must be replaced with asphalt or concrete, pavers or lawn, etc.
Adjoining land plots
Over the past thirty years, residents of the city have arbitrarily privatized the adjacent land plots around their houses. Some have grown lilac, while others have two meters high fences made of rusty iron. The city authorities should consider the possibility of transferring the adjacent land plots to the residents’ ownership. This would save the city's budget for cleaning, planting and processing green areas. Thus, these functions will br the residents’ responsibility.

In the same time, the transfer of the land to the residents should be accompanied by strict requirements:

● Prohibition of fences;
● Ban on the use of fertilizers;
● Responsibility for not watering plants and collecting garbage;
● And, most importantly, the prohibition of open soil and gravel-sand lands. The entire area must be covered with lawns, concrete, pavers or coarse gravel.

Open soil

The next main source of dust in the city are lawns and trees, namely, their non-compliance with norms and standards. Dried soil from lawns and foliage of trees rises into the air of Yerevan when it is windy. The city has already begun the process of landscaping - the Municipality is planting new trees and flowers but, unfortunately, the work is not carried out properly. The main mistakes are listed below:
Trunk gratings. 99% of city trees on the sidewalks do not have trunk gratings. The grating closes the soil, prevents it from compacting and getting onto the sidewalk. In general, the holes between the bars are filled with lawn, flowers or mulch. In addition, the gratings level and widen the sidewalk in the tree planting area, as, for example, it is arranged on Mashtots Avenue.

Lawns. All sections of the streets of Yerevan allocated for landscaping must be covered with vegetation. There are reasons why the situation in Yerevan is wrong:

● First, the wrong slope of the lawn: water from the sidewalks should flow towards the lawn, and not vice versa.

● Second, “folk trails”. In a properly designed city people should walk where they want to. And the Yerevan Municipality, instead of installing fences, should improve and legitimize such paths. If the city loses two square meters of lawn, then there will be nothing to worry about. But from this seemingly insignificant piece of land the city regularly receives an impressive dose of dust and dirt.

● Third, parking on lawns. The car parks on the lawn, the topsoil remains on wheels and spreads further throughout the city. This problem can be solved by fines and installation of sidewalk columns.

● Fourth, annual plants. Usually, they don’t plant annuals in the cities. Let's start with the fact that they are very expensive for the city: they require more care, they live for a couple of months and they need to allocate an annual budget for them. Please, note that there is open soil around these flowers. Dust spreads from it at hot weather and the soil spreads along the sidewalk or onto the roads during irrigation or at rains. The only right decision in this case is that the city should abandon annual plants in favor of perennials.

● Fifth, stray dogs tearing up the ground.

Factories operating in the city

The situation with factories is the same as with quarries: their emissions should be limited and they should be moved out of the city. Currently, for example, a concrete plant is operating at 22 Argutyan Street, Yerevan.