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Bogatynia, one of the most polluted cities – what’s next?

Bogatynia and the surrounding region are strongly polluted by suspended particulates, harmful to human health. This fact is confirmed by assessments of air quality held in 2015-2017 by the Voivodeship Environmental Protection Inspectorate. Bogatynia is exceptional among other cities in the region because the norms are exceeded outside the heating season, too.

The average daily norm for PM 10 particulates is 50 ug/m3 in Poland. In Bogatynia in 2015 observations at the station at ul. Francuska showed a record number of days when the norm was exceeded – as many as 172, which means almost half of the year (the acceptable frequency of such exceedances is 35 days per year). During about four months of a follow-up study by the Inspectorate in Bogatynia-Zatonie in 2017 (February-June) the norm was exceeded on 50 days. According to the Inspectorate’s report for 2015, 52% of instances of exceeded daily norm were observed outside the heating season. This shows that other sources of pollution than heating are crucial for air quality in this region. Therefore, the situation was not caused by home boilers and fuels used there – the pollution resulted mainly from operations of big industrial plants, such as Turów mine.

The main sources of emissions of suspended particulates from Turów Lignite Mine, as shown by the Inspectorate, are excavation site, pool hopper, coal sorting site, coal site and coal transport route. It is known that the mine has taken various measures to improve the situation, but evidently they were insufficient.

Breathing in the polluted air causes a health threat for inhabitants of Bogatynia: PM10 particulates have adverse impact on the respiratory system. They penetrate from lungs to blood, and thus reach all organs in the body. A high concentration of PM10 particulates is especially dangerous for persons with circulatory disorders, children and elderly people – says dr. Hanna Schudy from the Lower Silesian Smog Alert.

According to an independent experts’ report concerning Lower Silesia and developed in 2017 by the University of Wrocław air pollution in Bogatynia caused about 30 premature deaths each year. Unfortunately, there are no permanent air monitoring stations in Bogatynia, and periodic studies do not ensure protection of inhabitants’ health during the actual exposure. Citizens have the right to information. In places with evidence of exceedances, like Bogatynia, we demand establishment of permanent, all-year measurement points for suspended particulates, providing results to be followed and considered in regular action of the commune’s authorities as well as inhabitants– suggests Arkadiusz Wierzba, activist of the Lower Silesian Smog Alert.

The Lower Silesian Smog Alert believes that improvement of air quality which is the common good requires friendly cooperation of the authorities, inhabitants, as well as Turów Mine and Power Plant. According to its anti-smog resolution, the commune should organise stocktaking of pollution sources and develop a programme for thermal modernisation of buildings and replacement of heating sources using solid fuels (low-quality coal and wood). Turów Mine and Power Plant should prepare a programme for reduction and elimination of sources of suspended particulates which damage the citizens’ health.

Denying the reality is

a mistake. It is time to face the problem and say: we want to improve air quality in this region fast and we can do it in the interest of our children. We can afford it: we have competent people and we have resources to do it – argues Radosław Gawlik, activist of the Lower Silesian Smog Alert and EKO-UNIA Association.

Following its mission, the Lower Silesian Smog Alert wants to contribute to this process. The problems of pollution, its impact on human health and quality of life in the region, as well as methods to counteract smog will be discussed at the conference organised by the Lower Silesian Smog Alert to be held on the 17th May 2018 in Bogatynia.

Bogatynia, Wrocław, 24.04.2018

Press Release by t

he Lower Silesian Smog Alert

 

Contact data:

Radosław Gawlik, rgawlik@eko.org.pl, tel. 605 037 417

Hanna Schudy, hschudy@eko.org.pl, tel. 733 616 509

Arkadiusz Wierzba, a.wierzba@eko.org.pl, tel. 571 237 133

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