PSA is an organisation whose aim is to make Polish air clean and compliant with Polish and European air quality standards.
This aim is achievable. However,
 the following changes need to be introduced and enforced:

  • Anti-smog resolutions in voivodships which introduce an obligation to have the old boilers replaced with modern and air-friendly heating systems. These provisions should streamline the replacement of around 4 million non-compliant coal and biomass boilers, nicknamed ‘smokers’ for the large quantities of pollutants emitted;
  • Coal quality standards.  The quality of coal sold to households for many years has been unregulated and poor quality coal, including coal waste, was sold to households. This has changed due to PSA pressure and in 2018 first coal quality standards were introduced. These provisions need to be enforced and made stricter;
  • Emission standards for solid fuel boilers. Over 50% of particulate pollution in Poland comes from low power solid fuel boilers. Although solid fuel boilers are by far the most popular source of heating in single family buildings, only lately emission standards for household boilers have been established in Poland, due to PSA pressure. These provisions need to be enforced;
  • Introduction of low emission zones in cities with heavy car traffic. The number of cars per 1,000 inhabitants in Warsaw is over twice as high as in Berlin. The situation is similar in other large Polish cities. The average age of passenger car in Poland is over 13 years, half of which are diesel. Currently there are no regulations allowing establishment of LEZ and eliminating most polluting cars;
  • Introduction of excise tax for cars based on Euro norms. Currently the excise tax is based on the engine volume, which leads to increasing import of old diesel cars from western countries, which ban them from city traffic;
  • Tightening of provisions on MOT, including DPF tampering;
  • Introduction of incentives for development of public transport in rural and suburban areas;
  • Solutions that will allow for better control of emissions from industrial facilities.

financing

  • Support for the poorest citizens in the process of heating system replacement (fuel poverty alleviation programmes), including subsidies to installation of new heat sources and thermal renovation of houses;
  • Introduction of soft loan programmes and tax incentives to encourage the non-poor to replace their air polluting heating systems and conduct thermal retrofits of their houses.

enforcement

  • Regulations aimed at improving air quality must be accompanied by regulations encouraging citizens to take action,
  • To achieve this an effective system of control over the use of low power solid fuel boilers and types of fuels burnt in these devices has to be introduced,
  • Enforcement and control is also important for traffic and industrial emissions.
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foto: fotohuta.pl

information

Lowering smog alert thresholds. Polish citizens are not fully informed of the dangers associated with air pollution. Among all EU states, Poland has the most liberal rules for determining pollution levels and informing the general public about the scale of the problem. Just to compare – in Paris, a smog alert is announced when PM10 levels reach 80 µg/m3 whereas applicable alert threshold in Poland is almost four times higher, i.e. 300 µg/m3.