Smog-plagued Warsaw to limit access by car, coal heating

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Authorities in smog-plagued Warsaw revealed plans Wednesday to further limit car access to the city center, cut down on coal heating in private homes and expand green areas in a drive to improve the city's air quality.

Especially in the fall and winter, when the air is damp and people use coal heaters, Warsaw can be veiled in a cloud of smog. The problem is even more intense in southern Poland, in Krakow and in the industrial and coal mining region of Silesia, which are also taking steps against it.

Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski said downtown parking fees and fines will be significantly increased and more Park and Ride lots will be built to persuade drivers to use city subways, buses and trams. The longer-term plan is to totally ban cars from the tourist venue of the Old Town, where only non-emission buses will be allowed.

The city is also subsidizing families and small business with up to 200,000 zlotys ($52,000) when they change over highly-polluting coal heaters to non-coal ones.

Trzaskowski also vowed to have more green zones and more stations that would check air quality in the city.

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