New effective air protection standards for Małopolska residents

On November 20, 2023, the Małopolska Regional Assembly updated the so-called Air Protection Program. This is a follow-up program to the project adopted in 2020. The authors have set their sights on increasing the effectiveness of measures to improve air quality. The primary goal is and remains the health of Małopolska families. More support will be available to Małopolska local governments.

Work on the preparation of the document lasted more than a year and involved many communities. Public consultations were also carried out, allowing residents, local governments and NGOs to get involved in the process of creating this extremely important document. The voivodeship also provided funds from, among others, the European Funds for Małopolska (2021-2027) for the implementation of selected activities. Municipalities will be able to count on support for activities in the field of sustainable transportation, operation of municipal/municipal guards and activities of eco-counselors. They will also gain access to training courses and conferences to help them implement the tasks specified in the Program.

Importantly, the Program draws attention to the need to protect vulnerable people. For example, it includes recommendations to strive to improve the air quality around nurseries, kindergartens, schools, hospitals and retirement homes as soon as possible. This can be achieved, for example, by intensively planting greenery to insulate the area around these facilities from air pollution.

Each municipality will continue to have eco-managers, or environmental specialists. The main purpose of their activities will be to raise residents’ awareness of air protection and support pro-environmental activities. Importantly, an eco-manager will also help prepare an application for a grant to replace a stove or insulate a house.

Thanks to the planned activities, residents of Małopolska will gain cleaner air, financial support in replacing old heat sources, professional advice and easier access to financial programs. Also worth emphasizing is the fact of increasing access to environmental education and access to information on air quality.

The improvement in air quality in Krakow and Małopolska is particularly evident during the heating season, from October to March. The average concentration of PM10 dust between the 2014-2015 winter season and the 2022-2023 season fell by 44% in Małopolska, including as much as 53% in Krakow and 40% outside Krakow. The results achieved are the success of a consistent environmental policy. Intensive corrective measures are contributing to a significant improvement in air quality. The amount of harmful substances in the air decreases every year. Nevertheless, there are still days when the standards for the height of concentrations of harmful substances in the air are exceeded.