Polish cities are among the most polluted in Europe. To improve quality of life for residents, towns and cities in the Małopolska region have joined forces to create a network of eco-consultants. These consultants help local people to find the best ways of cutting emissions and to get funding to support them.
Phase 1 of the ‘Małopolskie in a healthy atmosphere’ project – funded by the EU’s LIFE environmental instrument – is coming to an end. To mark the occasion, Małopolskie regional government representatives took part in a discussion about the future of LIFE in the European Parliament. Held on 10 October 2017, it was a prime opportunity to present the project and its initial results to an international audience.
Representatives from the Polish region also participated in a LIFE opening conference in Bologna and a LIFE congress in Lisbon. At the same time, project partner Kraków Smog Alarm began working with non-governmental organisations in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and the Balkans.
The region will soon have another chance to show how successful ‘Małopolskie in a healthy atmosphere’ has been. Project coordinators will attend the UN Climate Summit and Clean Air Forum in Paris. A group from Hungary will also visit Małopolskie to learn about the good practices developed by the project.
Eco-advisers have recently undertaken a number of information and educational activities in Poland’s Małopolskie region. People have received advice on exchanging their heating systems for more eco-friendly versions, energy efficiency modernisation and available support programmes at events organised by municipalities.
However, the eco-advisers’ main focus is on informing residents about rules under the region’s smog prevention resolution, which came into force on 1 July 2017. They distributed hundreds of booklets and leaflets, along with reminders of the need to turn up the heating in winter.
Since late 2016, eco-advisers have helped and advised 127,000 residents, organised 1,300 public meetings for 26,000 people and given 317 school presentations for 12,400 people. They have also performed 725 waste incineration inspections and evaluated the environmental performance of 1,000 private and public buildings using thermographic cameras.
Outdated household heating systems are the main cause of smog in Poland’s Małopolska region. The regional authorities and their partners have launched a programme to improve the region’s air quality.
This has created jobs for 68 eco-consultants. They advise residents on choosing good boilers and help them get funding to replace old heating systems. They also educate people on making buildings energy efficient and use of solid fuels.
On 23 January 2017, the regional council banned the burning of coal-derived products in furnaces in the region from July 1. Boilers and fireplaces installed after that date must meet stringent emission standards. Existing boilers that don’t will be put out of use by 2023.