- Title: Poland bids to cut air pollution from coal
- Date: 5th November 2018
- Summary: KATOWICE, POLAND (OCTOBER 29, 2018) (REUTERS) SMOG HANGING IN AIR OVER KATOWICE SMOG COVERING SUN TRAFFIC PASSING ON HIGHWAY TRAFFIC DRIVING ON ROAD VARIOUS OF MUSEUM LOCATED IN CONVERTED MINE BUILDINGS MAYOR OF KATOWICE MARCIN KRUPA SITTING FOR INTERVIEW WITH JOURNALISTS KRUPA SPEAKING KRUPA'S HANDS (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) MAYOR OF KATOWICE, MARCIN KRUPA, SAYING: "Everyone has someone who worked in the mines or still works in the mines, so there are certain mining traditions that have been uninterrupted for many, many years. And now breaking this impasse by the necessity of switching to another source of energy is a bit difficult. But through this education, we see that it succeeds. We see it more and more often that a grandchild asks their grandmother or grandfather: 'Why are you burning this, not something else? You see the smoke coming out of chimney and this smoke is bad for us.' And people are becoming more and more aware." WOMEN WALKING ACROSS ROAD BY SIGN SHOWING AMOUNTS OF POLLUTANTS IN AIR SIGN SHOWING VALUES FOR SULPHUR DIOXIDE (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) MAYOR OF KATOWICE, MARCIN KRUPA, SAYING: "What we save from burning poor quality fuels, we will then pay in much larger amounts to improve our health, which is (paying for) the cost of treatment. And it is clearly calculated that for a city like Katowice with a population of 300,000, more or less 700 people die every year only because of bad air quality." VARIOUS OF AIR MONITORING EQUIPMENT (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) POST DOCTORAL RESEARCHER AND COORDINATOR OF AIR MONITORING PROJECT AT UNIVERSITY OF SILESIA, MARIOLA JABLONSKA, SAYING: "First of all, we are investigating the pollutants' composition and this allows us to pinpoint the sources of the pollution, where can the pollution come from and this is one, let's say, added value (of this research) which helps us define what is the source of pollution and from how far away the pollution is coming. This is the first thing. The second important aspect that we are analysing is the composition of pollutants depending on particle size, which affects the health aspect. The smallest particles enter the respiratory system and they have an impact on our health, so knowing the composition and the amount of the pollutants' particles (in the air) will be the part of our research which will matter for society."
- Embargoed: 19th November 2018 11:04
- Keywords: air pollution pollution smog COP24 Katowice coal
- Location: KATOWICE, POLAND
- City: KATOWICE, POLAND
- Country: Poland
- Topics: Science
- Reuters ID: LVA001958BL97
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Poland is entering smog season with the onset of winter.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Poland has some of the most polluted areas on the planet, ranking alongside places with infamously poor air quality, such as Beijing and New Delhi.
A 2016 WHO report found that 33 of the 50 most-polluted places in the European Union (EU) were in Poland, mostly in the country's south.
Katowice, which lies at the heart of Poland's coal country in the southern Silesia region, is one of them.
Poland remains one of the countries, most reliant on coal for generating electricity. Coal currently produces around 80 percent of the country's energy, although the Polish government wants this figure to decrease to 50 percent by 2050.
What contributes most to Poland's smog problems, however, is the burning of low-quality coal and rubbish in inefficient furnaces for heating, as well as emissions from transport.
Earlier this month the government approved long-awaited regulations that define the quality of coal that may be used by households and small companies and aim to ban the dirtiest coal to make the air cleaner.
But the change will only take effect from June 30 2020, drawing criticism from environmentalists.
Despite its dirty reputation, Katowice is the host city for December's United Nations climate conference. Local authorities say it was one of the first cities in Poland to develop a 'low-emission economy plan' to improve air quality and public health.
Katowice mayor Marcin Krupa says despite ingrained habits from their coal-mining culture, residents are becoming more aware of the relationship between what they use to keep their houses warm and their health.
He argues that although coal may be cheaper, the money saved will be spent in increased healthcare costs. Some 700 people die in Katowice every year due to bad air quality, according to Krupa.
As well as technical measures, Katowice and other cities in the region are organising other events to make people aware of the benefits of clean air.
Among these was an 'environmentally-friendly tram' filled with plants which travelled on a number of cities' tram networks and giving passengers information about how to adopt a more low-emission lifestyle.
The Katowice campus of the University of Silesia also hosts a group of researchers carrying out an air quality monitoring project, part of which includes sending scientists with measuring equipment up in a hot-air balloon.
Project coordinator Mariola Jablonska says the researchers are primarily trying to find out where most of the pollution originates and how large particles of pollutants are, as different-sized particles pose varying degrees of danger when breathed in.
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