Poland Has Most Polluted Air

Kraków Smog

Kraków Smog

According to a Supreme Chamber of Control (NIK) report, Poland is not tackling its smog problem. NIK criticises local and national authorities for not improving air quality. NIK auditors noted no changes in air quality over the last five years in Lesser Poland (Małopolska), Silesia (Śląsk), Mazovia (Mazowsze), Pomerania (Pomorze) and the Opole region (Opolszczyzna). “On the list of the ten the most polluted cities in the EU, six are Polish,” says Krzysztof Kwitakowski, head of NIK. The most polluted are the cities of Kraków and Nowy Sącz. Smog hangs over these cities for 150 days a year. It is not much better in Gliwice, Zabrze, Sosnowiec and Katowice where dust particle levels are exceeded for over 120 days a year. “It has been calculated that every year in Poland 45,000 people die because of air pollution,” according to the head of NIK. The Supreme Chamber of Control pointed out that the ten most polluted cities in Poland spent over PLN 3.5 billion allegedly on air quality improvement. However, most of the money was rerouted and spent on the construction of new roads, tram lines or new car parks. “85% of the funds have been allotted for investment on infrastructure. We could well say that the limitation of emissions was not a key factor of these investments,” noted Krzysztof Kwiatkowski. NIK auditors also pointed out a lack of a national programme for air protection. There are no quality norms for coal burning and furnaces. NIK warns that Poland may even have to pay a PLN 4 billion fine for not staying in line with air quality standards. However, the Ministry of the Environment assures the public that the situation is getting better. The head of the Ministry Maciej Grabowski says that the fine is not the main problem and that he disagrees with the proposition that Poland may receive a fine. What is important for him is to make Polish people aware of the consequences of heating with poor quality fuels and even with rubbish. Minister Grabowski adds that the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management heads special programmes to reduce air pollution. In his opinion industrial emissions are not as problematical as that from cars and homes. He promises to fight these sources of pollution. According to the OECD, over 3.5 billion people in the world die every year from air pollution.
wp.pl

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