The first Smog Alert was established in Krakow, in 2012. The actions taken by Kraków Smog Alert have contributed to raising public awareness of air quality issues and their importance.
Consequently, in 2016 Kraków became the first  city in Poland to introduce a ban on solid fuel heating in low power boilers. The ban came into force in 2019. Elimination of coal and wood heating cut dust and carcinogenic benzo[a]pyrene concentrations by more than half.This translated into unprecedented air quality improvement – particulate matter and benzo[a]pyrene pollution fell by half.

Kraków Smog Alert was soon joined by a network of Local Smog Alerts. Thanks to their joint efforts:

  • public awareness of the smog problem has increased,
  • the situation has reached a breaking point, which forced the politicians to start working on changes in the law and the government announced air improvement as one of its main priorities,
  • nobody denies the air pollution problem in Poland any more, which was a common practice only a few years ago,
  • the issue of air pollution receives wide coverage in local and national media – each year PSA inspires several thousand media materials.
SOS Tomasz Gotfryd
SOS Tomasz Gotfryd
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Raised public awareness has translated into changes in law and financial programmes.

  • In January 2016 Kraków became the first city in Poland to introduce a ban on solid fuel heating in low power boilers (coming into force in 2019).
  • To date bans on using coal for household heating were voted in around 20 cities and towns (including the capital city of Warsaw).
  • To date anti-smog resolutions were passed by the authorities of 14 out of 16 regions in Poland. This means that nearly 90% of the country is covered by anti-smog provisions to be enforced within the coming several years. These laws set time limits by which all residents have to replace their old solid fuel based boilers and stoves with clean heating technologies. 1 million households already gave up coal heating within last several years.
  • In 2017 the national government introduced emission standards for solid fuel boilers, stopping the sales of the most polluting coal boilers.
  • In 2018 the national government introduced quality standards for coal, limiting the sales of coal waste and poor quality coal.
  • In 2018, after a long PSA campaign, the government launched a number of financial measures to support air quality improvement were launched, including a 25-billion-EUR subsidy and soft-loan programme supporting boiler replacement and thermal renovation of single family houses. The programme is accompanied by and a tax relief for these investments. Already nearly 700,000 households applied to the programme.
  • In 2021 national legislation was amended to provide Polish cities with a right to establish low emission zones, aimed at eliminating the most polluting vehicles from city traffic. The first LEZ was adopted in 2022 in Krakow – this is the first such a zone in post-communist Europe.
  • Thanks to the reforms and programmes initiated by PSA air quality in Poland is slowly improving. The number of zones where particulate matter concentration is exceed fell from 38 (out of 46) in 2012 to 25 in 2021. Better air quality translates into public health – the number of premature deaths decreased by 20%, i.e. 10,000 deaths annually.

Polish Smog Alert activists are engaged in the implementation of the LIFE programme, under which a network of eco-managers was created and local authorities were involved in the fight against air pollution.

PSA has set up an online portal which, as the first such portal in our country, focuses on air pollution, climate change and plastic crisis. is visited by over 100,000 users every month and over 2 million people annually.