Turów Mine explains the high concentration of suspended ashes in the air with transport and low-level emissions. The Lower Silesia Smog Alert has applied for all-year monitoring of air quality in Bogatynia Zatonie.
“In Bogatynia Zatonie other sources of pollution than heating are decisive for air quality. This is evidenced by results of a study by Voivodeship Environmental Protection Inspectorate held since 2015 when a Polish record of exceedance of an average norm for PM 10 ashes was noted. The norm was exceeded on as many as 172 days, and 52% of instances of exceeded daily norm were observed outside the heating season”.1 The respective information was also confirmed at the conference2, attended by the head of Jelenia Góra branch of the Voivodeship Environmental Protection Inspectorate who highlighted that GiEK Lignite Branch of Turów Mine is responsible for 70% of suspended ashes in the region3.
Considering the alarming results of studies by the Voivodeship Environmental Protection Inspectorate, the Lower Silesia Smog Alert wrote on the 16th April 2018 a letter to the Management Board of Turów Mine and Power Plant (GiEK Lignite Branch in Turów – part of PGE Concern) asking about the taken and planned measures to reduce ash concentration and limit other adverse effects of its operations. Specific questions were asked about the coal production and transport processes as well as quantity and sources of water used.
Responding to the letter (the response is enclosed), GiEK Turów Lignite Branch provided some explanations, but without indicating specific values and data or any evidence to confirm authenticity of the provided information. According to representatives of Turów Mine, the bad condition of air is due to low emissions (especially ashes emitted from house chimneys) and road transport, but not the Mine’s operations.
It should be appreciated that GiEK Turów communicates with its stakeholders, responding to written enquiries or attending the Conference concerning air quality. However, environmentalists believe that the stand presented by the Mine contradicts facts, questioning results obtained by a reliable state institution – the Voivodeship Environmental Protection Inspectorate.
Radosław Gawlik activist of the Lower Silesia Smog Alert and EKO-UNIA says: “The vague response from the Mine, providing no exact data, is surprising in the context of unquestionable opinion by the Voivodeship Environmental Protection Inspectorate – the suspended ashes from Turów open-pit mine are the main source of contamination in such parts of Bogatynia as Zatonie and Trzciniec”
Considering the inhabitants’ health, on the 10th July 2018, the Lower Silesia Smog Alert filed an official request to the Voivodeship Environmental Protection Inspectorate concerning establishment of a measurement station in Bogatynia Zatonie. With all-year monitoring of air quality and especially of quantities of suspended ashes, the quality can be verified by objective evidence.
Joanna Kubicka (EKO-UNIA, University of Business in Wrocław): Considering the unwavering certainty of PGE and Turów Mine that they are not responsible for air pollution in Bogatynia, we are convinced that the Management Board of the Company will support the proposal submitted by the Lower Silesia Smog Alert and that the Company will also address the Voivodeship Environmental Protection Inspectorate with an official request.
2 Conference “YES for clean air in Bogatynia and the region”, 18th May 2018, Bogatynia
3 link to the video