“We burn bad things, in the wrong way, in old stoves”

– this could be the shortest summary of air pollution sources in Poland.

According to the data of the European Environment Agency, presented by prof. Katarzyna Juda Rezler, air quality in Poland is the worst in Europe in terms of PM10, PM2.5, B(a)P concentration. During the same presentation, prof. Juda Rezler remained that each year, during the heating season, heating equipment used in households consumes: 11 to 12 million tons of coal (including at least 1 million tons of muds, and at least 2 million tons of flotoconcentrates); 6 to 8 million tons of biomass (wood); from 0.5 to 1 million tons of brown coal, from 0.5 to 1 million tons of waste.

Around 80% of stoves are ones with manual feed, which means owners decide what to heat with. Sometimes, however, it is not a matter of choice: 12.2% of Polish citizens (4.3 million people living in 1.3 million households) are affected by the problem of energy poverty.

The situation is further aggravated by the passenger cars in Poland. Road transport is the second-highest driving force of air pollution. Poland has the oldest car fleet in Europe. The average car is 17 years old. We are also the largest importer of used cars in Europe. The poor condition of Polish roads, the lack of proper cleaning and smooth traffic in cities contribute to really unnecessary emissions.

Image by Beth Gardiner, retrived from: pulitzercenter. Poland, 2015.
This note was taken based on the lecture given by prof. Katarzyna Juda Rezler during the seminar “Problem of air quality from a multi-disciplinary perspective”, organized by the Polish Academy of Science and Polish Sociological Association on May 27, 2021. For more information about the seminar available here.

1Data available in this paper: http://warsawstovesummit.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/WP2-Problem-definition-coal-heat-stoves-final-0617.pdf