Polish activists complain to EU about toxic smog

February 17, 2017
Poland's capital Warsaw is shrouded in a thick layer of smog on January 9, 2017 as coal and waste-fired home furnaces drive up air pollution to the highest levels recorded in years

Polish environmental groups on Friday filed a complaint with the European Union against national and local authorities for failing to fight lethal levels of smog.

The European Environmental Agency (EEA) blames air pollution—caused in large part by the burning of coal—for an estimated 50,000 premature deaths per year in the country of 38 million people.

Seventy percent of Polish households burn low-quality coal or rubbish in old stoves for heating.

Antiquated coal-fired power plants generate nearly all of Poland's electricity, giving it some of the most toxic air in the 28-member EU.

"Poland has Europe's highest air-borne concentrations of the carcinogen benzopyrene—norms are exceeded four-fold—breaching both Polish and EU laws," Piotr Cykowski, an activist with the Action Democracy NGO told AFP at the European Commission branch office in Warsaw.

"This is why we're filing a formal complaint to the European Commission which could formally sanction Poland for inaction in fighting lethal smog," he added.

"We were expecting the introduction of a ban on the sale of the lowest quality coal for domestic heating purposes. However, new draft regulations change nothing," said ClientEarth Poland lawyer Agnieszka Warso-Buchanan, noting that the government admits that "a ban would harm the coal industry."

Poland's current rightwing Law and Justice (PiS) government and previous administrations of all political stripes have based energy policy on plentiful domestic coal, while taking little action to mitigate pollution.

Smog has spiked to record levels nationwide in recent years, with windless days this winter causing particularly acute pollution.

A public petition signed by 24,000 Poles backed the formal complaint filed by the NGOs, including global environmental groups Greenpeace and ClientEarth as well as activists from the local Action Democracy and the City is Ours groups.

The European Commission said in an environmental review of Poland published this month it was already "launching infringement procedures" against Poland and other members over "persistent breaches of air quality requirements... which have severe negative effects on health and the environment.

"The aim is to put in place adequate measures to bring all zones into compliance."

The report also estimated that "the health-related external costs from air pollution in Poland are above 26 billion euros ($28 billion) per year.

"These direct economic costs include the 19 million workdays lost each year due to sickness related to ."

It urged Warsaw to "establish emission standards for coal-fired individual heaters" among other measures "in order to mitigate risks."

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23 comments

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Varsovian
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 17, 2017
I completely agree with the need to reduce the disgraceful levels of smog in Poland. But where were all these NGOs during the 25 years when the Lie-berals were in power? You know, when we had widespread childhood malnutrition? Over half a million children had meat on the table only twice a week due to extreme poverty. The "populists" stopped that in 6 months - by introducing child benefit. Any chance off someone reporting the theft of Holocaust assets in Warsaw by the Lie-beral Mayor? Thought not.
gkam
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 17, 2017
Essentially they are giving their own people shortened lives to protect "the coal industry"??

WHAT??

How much longer are The People going to stand for this? The super-rich are making money by killing the Decent Folk.

It is time for changes.
Estevan57
3 / 5 (4) Feb 17, 2017
Hey stupid, have you considered that "The People" are too poor to afford anything other than trash and low grade coal for heat?

How much smog where you live gkam? Wow, that much huh?

Da Schneib
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 18, 2017
Heard a lot of Poles bragging about their coal industry.

You gets what you pays for.
gkam
1 / 5 (4) Feb 18, 2017
This is what governments do to people in some cases. They are often authoritarian.
gkam
1 / 5 (4) Feb 19, 2017
They are trading Human lives for profits.

What are the Poles going to do about it?
gkam
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 19, 2017
"How much smog where you live gkam? Wow, that much huh?
---------------------------------

Nope. We cleaned up the Bay Area in the late1970s and I was part of it, as a Plant Engineer for a large iron foundry. We had to invent new processes, . . and did it.

What did you do?
Estevan57
3.7 / 5 (6) Feb 19, 2017
Hey stupid -
http://www.sfgate...7179.php

Bay Area sets record with 26th smog alert Saturday? yup Betcha got a bridge to sell too...

http://www.mercur...ontrols/

You never check your own BS, do you?
gkam
1 / 5 (4) Feb 19, 2017
Estevan, did you actually read the items? It did not say there was smog, it said we would not allow any. Go and look at the pictures in the SF article and see what they mean by "smog".

Read your own stuff before you post it. Your fixation makes you sloppy.
Uncle Ira
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 19, 2017
Estevan, did you actually read the items?
I did but I doubt you did.

The Bay Area Quality Management District issued its 26th Spare the Air alert of the year, citing hot temperatures and light offshore winds, combined with "motor vehicle exhaust from traffic," as the root cause of unhealthy air conditions Saturday.


And the article you didn't read that you think Estevan-Skippy should have read went on to say,,,,,

Spare the Air Alerts are issued by the air district when ozone pollution, or smog, is expected to hit unhealthy levels due to a combination of weather and atmospheric conditions. San Francisco and coastal regions were issued a moderate warning, while parts of the East Bay were expected to be worse, with conditions considered unhealthy for sensitive groups


Your fixation makes you sloppy.
And yours makes you really stupid.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 19, 2017
Nope. We cleaned up the Bay Area in the late1970s and I was part of it, as a Plant Engineer for a large iron foundry
Engineer, as in dial-reader and button-pusher? Its possible. Were you ever a sanitation engineer (garbage collector)?
We had to invent new processes, . . and did it
Youve had at least 12-14 jobs from what you told us. And then HR came along and you couldnt get another jobshop position. So you became a 'consultant' and sat on your ass for 10yrs. And brooded.

So its hard to imagine you invented or did much of anything in the 6 mos you were at the 'foundry', let alone clean up the 'bay area'.

Youre a sick little man george. But youve heard that many times before, yes?
Estevan57
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 19, 2017
Thank you, Ira. Gkam - the pictures in the article, that I indeed did read, were from a different date than the smog alert.

As describe at the bottom of each picture. OUCH!

Photo 1 - August 26, 2011
Photo 2 - Feb. 2, 2015
Photo 3 - August 26, 2011 If I can quote them, it probably means I read the story.

News organizations sometimes use older photos as a contrast to the current news as a "before and after" technique.

I'm sure a picture of smog, from the 26 smog alerts can be found somewhere. Even you could find it.

By the way, I should have put quotes around "Bay Area sets record with 26th smog alert Saturday". Maybe you could have figured out it was the HEADLINE.
Have pleasant rainy day.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (4) Feb 20, 2017
This is what governments do to people in some cases. They are often authoritarian.

This is what "people" say when they don't understand the underlying dynamic of a democratic republic "Of the People and By the People".
It's not the "government", per se. It's a small portion of "people" feeding their self-righteous ego's via fear-mongering of vague unseen dangers.
Usually done by "authoritative" sloganeering...

Da Schneib
4 / 5 (4) Feb 20, 2017
Bay Area sets record with 26th smog alert Saturday

By Marissa Lang, San Francisco Chronicle Updated 2:09 pm, Saturday, October 8, 2016


Just sayin'.
gkam
Feb 20, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
geokstr
2.3 / 5 (4) Feb 20, 2017
They are trading Human lives for profits. What are the Poles going to do about it?


It's the evil profit you revile so much that provides the motivation to risk and innovate that over time lifts so many "human lives" out of poverty. All socialism does is spread the poverty and lack of liberty out to a larger % of the population while insanely enriching a small nomenklatura of politically-connected "human lives". Hugo Chavez died with billions of dollars in off-shore accounts, and his daughter is also worth billions. Fidel and his brother are billionaires as well - their subjects are uniformly poor as dirt, yet these Marxist dictators remain the heroes of the left.

gkam
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 20, 2017
No, geokstr, I have no interest in those folk, and have no idea what kind of world you live in. I see constant referrals to some Alinsky guy, who apparently inflames you, and who nobody I know ever read or heard of. You invent these dangers then believe them, because it is what you NEED to believe.

Stop it. I volunteered for the Vietnam War while in the service, and went over to only get educated. I suggest you do the same. Then come back and we'll talk.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Feb 20, 2017
Stop it. I volunteered for the Vietnam War while in the service, and went over to only get educated
-and stoned a lot while riding your scooter around the thai countryside; oh and also sick of 'the killing'.

But maybe you went there to get educated because you got kicked out of those 3 colleges? Did you find any colleges in thailand?
I suggest you do the same. Then come back and we'll talk
Uh george? The wars been over for quite some time now. It was on the news.

I hear pot affects memory though.

You are such a tragedy it makes me weep sometimes haha
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (4) Feb 20, 2017
No, geokstr, I have no interest in those folk, and have no idea what kind of world you live in. I see constant referrals to some Alinsky guy, who apparently inflames you, and who nobody I know ever read or heard of. You invent these dangers then believe them, because it is what you NEED to believe.

Geez, George - that sounds familiar...

Stop it. I volunteered for the Vietnam War while in the service, and went over to only get educated. I suggest you do the same. Then come back and we'll talk.

I just wanted to make some money on the Black Market. Unfortunately, they stopped sending troops 2 months before i got out of AIT...

gkam
1 / 5 (4) Feb 20, 2017
You could have brought back pounds of smack.

We were between the Golden Triangle and Bangkok, and our Air America group on base were rumored, later confirmed, to be running it.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (2) Feb 21, 2017
You could have brought back pounds of smack.

We were between the Golden Triangle and Bangkok, and our Air America group on base were rumored, later confirmed, to be running it.

Drugs ain't my thing...
Now, Helicopters might have worked....
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 21, 2017
We were between the Golden Triangle and Bangkok, and our Air America group on base were rumored, later confirmed, to be running it
As usual nobody gives a shit george. Nobody here has ever given a shit. Even when you make up outrageous lies in the hope that people will give a shit.

They never have and they never will.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Feb 21, 2017
A public petition signed by 24,000 Poles backed the formal complaint filed by the NGOs

What I find surprising: While the pollution of the 70's, 80's and 90's caused the formation of dedicated environmental political parties in many european countries (which eventually forced changes almost everywhere) I can't find a similar party in the list of polish ones.
There was one that started in 2004 (Partia Zieloni), but was dissolved in 2016

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