The Silesian Museum in Katowice hosted a the “Formal and legal aspects of the implementation of the Air Quality Plan and the anti-smog resolution” conference on May 24, 2018. The conference was a partnership event of the European Commission included in the “Green Week”.
The conference was addressed mainly to the representatives of the municipalities of the Silesian Region and non-governmental organizations. The event was attended by representatives of the Supreme Audit Office, the Provincial Inspectorate for Environmental Protection as well as police officers and municipal guards. Moreover, at the invitation of the Silesian Voivodship Marshal Wojciech Saługa, a representative of the Marshal’s Office of the Malopolska Region presented the previous experiences of the Malopolska municipalities with respect to conducting inspections of furnaces and compliance with anti-smog resolutions. During the presentation, the features of effective control were pointed out, various models of controls in municipalities were discussed, and the areas that need to be strengthened to ensure that the controls had measurable effects were indicated. Attention was drawn to the need for municipalities to cooperate with each other, as well as to support certain activities with the presence of police and municipal guards.
Good practices, problems and challenges
During the conference, attended by over 300 people, speakers pointed to good practices and solutions in the implementation of Air Quality Plans. In addition, attempts were made to identify the most important problems, both in terms of insufficient legal safeguards and difficulties in implementing some solutions at the municipal level. The Marshal of the Silesian Region drew attention to the necessity of constantly appealing to the central authorities regarding appropriate legislative solutions throughout the country, especially with respect to regulations concerning the quality of solid fuels.
Awareness of the problem is the basis
The Silesian voivodship, similarly to the Malopolska Region, carried out surveys as a result of which the inhabitants’ knowledge of smog and the threats resulting from long-term staying in a polluted environment were diagnosed. The results clearly indicate that environmental education should be a pillar of all activities related to the improvement of air quality. It is supported by the fact that more than half of the respondents recognized that they did not see the problem of air pollution and never felt the health effects associated with poor air quality.
Division of roles
Representatives of the Marshal’s Office of the Silesian Region drew attention to the obligations incumbent on municipalities in relation to the provisions of the anti-smog resolution and the Air Quality Plan. The possibilities of implementing local legal regulations were presented by the Eco-manager in the Gdów Municipality (the Malopolska Region). He has extensive experience in conducting waste incineration control, including in the collection of samples for laboratory tests.
Valuable remarks were also presented by representatives of uniformed services, they performed over 7,500 inspections in Silesia. They also drew attention to the strong need for introducing additional legal regulations allowing enabling the issuance of fines for non-compliance with the anti-smog resolution. Both the guards from Silesia and from the Malopolska Region asked the government plenipotentiary for the coordination of the Clean Air Plan for legislative changes with respect to that.
The representative of the Supreme Audit Office pointed out the aspects which are of particular significance in municipalities. He also announced that controls on the implementation of the Air Quality Plans will be continued and that municipalities should impose a high priority on the measures aimed at improving air quality.
The Malopolska Region and the Silesian Region and other 60 partners implement the “Implementation of the Air Quality Plan for the Malopolska Region – Malopolska in a healthy atmosphere” LIFE Integrated Project.