Frosty night covers Poland in smog

On Monday morning, Wroclaw recorded an AQI (air quality index) of 262 making it the second most polluted city in the world, right after the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka. Poland’s capital, Warsaw, came sixth with an AQI of 193. [Shutterstock/fotohuta]

Sunday’s frosty night has caused extremely high air pollution across Poland, placing Wroclaw and Warsaw in the world’s top ten most polluted cities according to IQAir’s air quality index which calculates the dose of pollution on the basis of dust concentrations and average air quality results.

On Monday morning, Wroclaw recorded an AQI (air quality index) of 262 making it the second most polluted city in the world, right after the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka. Poland’s capital, Warsaw, came sixth with an AQI of 193. 

These high pollution levels come from Poland’s 3 to 3.5 million very polluting coal stoves which are used to heat homes in the winter. According to the research by think-tank Forum Energii, “Poles burn as much as 87% of the coal burned by all EU households at their homes”. Besides, since there was no wind to blow away harmful dust, the latter stayed close to the ground and enhanced the smog. 

Meanwhile, the Polish government introduced in 2018 a clean air programme which was supposed to lead to unprecedented positive changes and tackle the problem of Polish smog. “Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced the liquidation of 300,000 coal stoves in a year. Meanwhile, in two years, there were only 180,000 requests for replacement (…). We have a crisis,” commented Piotr Siergiej from the Polish Smog Alert. 

(Joanna Jakubowska | EURACTIV.pl)

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