Air Pollution in Poland – Condition, Causes and Effects. In the recent years the
air in Poland seems to be the most polluted in Europe (it is worse only in a few times smaller
Bulgaria). The concentration of particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5 and polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons (PAHs), represented by benzo(a)pyrene are among the highest in European Union
countries. They are highly toxic, especially PAHS, which damage the hematopoietic system,
accumulate in living organisms leading to a cancerous process, they cause damages to the central
nervous system and infertility. It is estimated that high air pollution causes 45-47 thousands
premature deaths in Poland every year, as well as growth frequency of allergies and chronic
diseases. Polish society loses about 520,000 potential years of life, and the economy of
18.5 million work days. It’s a very high price.
The weather determines to a large extent the air pollution. The smog episode is usually
accompanied by low wind speed or atmospheric silence, reduction of visibility and thermal
inversions. However, the biggest problem is low emission, which is mainly related to individual
heating of buildings (78-87% of the total emission of benzo(a)pyrene.
The reasons for such poor sanitary condition of the air in Poland are complex and to a large
extent they result from spatial chaos and lack of spatial planning, but also from general policy
country. The most important reasons are i.a.: the lack of a planning policy and a sustainable
transport policy, persistent subsidies for unprofitable coal mines, the lack of a policy promoting
renewable energy sources and “clean” technologies, high gas price (the highest in Europe) and
no subsidies for the poorest, scattered buildings which hinders access to system heat, inefficient
and unsuitable transport based on road transport road and individual cars (often old, Diesel) etc.
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