Polish Smog Alert is a social movement that brings together people fighting for the improvement of air quality in Poland – a country with the dirtiest air in the EU. The idea was born in Krakow, where strong social pressure allowed for introducing a ban on solid fuel heating (coal and wood). The successes of the first initiative inspired citizens from other towns and cities to initiate their activism . Today we act in most large Polish cities and also in many smaller towns, and our movement gather over 50 clean air grassroots. Not only do we initiate important changes, but we also influence their shape. The result is a series of anti-smog regulations introduced at various levels. Successes improve the situation, but we are still far from resolving the problem.
Polish air is among the most polluted in Europe. Air quality standards in the winter season are repeatedly exceeded. In some places, benzo(a)pyrene concentrations in the air are even ten times higher than the safe levels defined in the EU law. The poor condition of the air is responsible for nearly 40 thousand premature deaths in the country and numerous health problems. The main reason for this is the so-called low-stack emission (emissions from chimneys with a height lower than 40m), i.e. coal or wood boilers and stoves for household heating.