COP24: Poland needs to improve its poor air quality

"Clean Protest" participants demanding improvement of air quality in Kraków, 25.02.2017. Photo: PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk

“Among all the EU countries, Poland has the worst air quality,” said Krzysztof Kwiatkowski, head of Supreme Audit Office, at UN climate conference.

Big parts of the anticipated international report on air pollution in Europe covering years 2014 - 2017, were presented on Friday at the COP24 conference in Katowice. It shows that in Poland air quality is worse than in any other European Union country, and a lot needs to be done to change this situation.

“If we compare the levels of benzopyrene in the atmosphere in 28 European Union Countries, Poland is in the last place, as the most polluted state. Even though Polish standards allow higher levels than World Health Organization recommendations , they are still being breached,” said Krzysztof Kwiatkowski. “36 out of 50 most polluted European cities are in Poland,” he added.

Polish Auditor General pointed out that there were some areas for improvement that the government needed to concentrate on. “The powers of many institutions involved in environment protection do overlap in Poland and this is something that needs to get sorted out. Other issue is insufficient funding. I’m happy to hear the government’s declarations that it will allocate more money to fight climate change in the future, but at the moment the reality is, that where billions are needed only millions are given,” stressed Mr Kwiatkowski.

Earlier this year the government launched the extensive “Clean Air” programme with a budget of PLN 103 billion . The money will be spent by June 2027 and allow for the modernisation of some 4 million households and the replacement of 3 million of old heating stoves. The government stresses its determination to fight air pollution.