The fight for clean air is one of the most important tasks of the self-government of the Malopolska Region. In the Malopolska Region, thanks to the LIFE project, there are 60 qualified specialists, the Eco-managers, dealing with air protection. The heads of the Skawina and Świątniki Górne municipalities will tell us why it is worth employing an Eco-manager.
Is it worth hiring an Eco-manager?
Dr Witold Słomka – the Head of the Town and Municipality of Świątniki Górne: Definitely yes! In my opinion, an Eco-manager, or an employee dealing mainly with air protection, should also be employed in other municipalities in Poland. I am particularly pleased with that as the municipality’s governor, as well as with the fact that thanks to the work of an Eco-manager, the subject of air protection has gained a new, more significant meaning than before. The people educated in this field, and all Eco-managers have graduated from specialist post-graduate studies, can use their knowledge on a daily basis to intensify activities aimed at improving the air quality in our area.
Paweł Kolasa – the Head of Skawina Town and Municipality: The Eco-manager increases the awareness of residents. He help them choose a new source of heating, explains the administrative procedures related to furnace replacement. He meets residents during rural and housing meetings, meetings of parents at schools and meetings of the voluntary fire service. He also educates children from schools and kindergartens in the municipality.
Why is the presence of an air quality specialist in the municipality necessary to improve air quality in Poland?
Paweł Kolasa – the Head of Skawina Town and Municipality: the Eco-manager participates in the acquisition and settlement of funds for the replacement of furnaces, environmental education and the widening of environmental monitoring. The office wants to help its residents as best as possible, which is why the Eco-manager provides assistance not only in the office, but also in the field, which is appreciated by the residents.
Dr Witold Słomka – the Head of Świątniki Górne Town and Municipality: Treating the issue of the air quality as one of the key aspects, one cannot allow the issue to be dealt with by people from time to time, in intervals between other important tasks. Therefore, I very much appreciate the solution that we have introduced thanks to participation in the LIFE project. It is not without significance that Eco-managers cooperate with each other on a daily basis. They exchange experiences and good practices. They form a kind of a team of ambassadors of good air and sensitize heads, mayors and residents. It must bring good results and it will certainly bring them.
The problem of the air quality is becoming more and more important to the society of many municipalities in Poland. How can municipalities deal with it better?
Dr Witold Słomka – the Head of Świątniki Górne Town and Municipality: In my opinion, the role of the legislator is major. The key problem is the admission of poor quality fuels to trading. Without systemic solutions that exclude any fakes and “pseudo” fuels from the market, combating air pollution will be very difficult. It would be ideal for every resident to be able to use gas heating. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford it today in the light of the lack of thermo-modernization of homes. Municipalities should undertake investment activities, engage in raising funds for activities related to air protection. Furnace exchanges, thermal modernization of buildings, promotion of public transport, including rail transport are the tasks for which financial resources must be raised.