Podhale wants to know more

The holiday season in Podhale is the time of many trips to the mountains, communing with nature and gaining strength for learning and working. Everyday problems go away, everyone looks for a respite from worries and difficult matters. With a few months’ perspective, the specter of the recurring smog problem, doctors, local government officials and company representatives implement solutions aimed at improving the air quality.

There was a debate on Radio Alex (105.2 FM) on August 2 this year with the participation of:

Ewa Łączyńska – the Head of the Department of Pulmonology at the Klara Jelska “Rebirth” Specialist Hospital of Lung Diseases in Zakopane,

Grzegorz Watycha, the Head of Nowy Targ,

Grzegorz Ratter, the President of the Management Board of Municipal Company of Thermal Energy in Nowy Targ

Katarzyna Stadnik from the Air Quality Team of the Marshal’s Office of the Malopolska Region.

The theme of the debate was the air quality in the Malopolska Region.

Health above all

Inhabitants of Podhale could learn, among others, about the health problems resulting from breathing contaminated air. Ewa Łączyńska from the Zakopane hospital shared her professional experience resulting from many years of medical practice. She pointed out the low ecological awareness among her patients. The level of knowledge about the health consequences of exposure to air pollution in society is still low. Many lung diseases, such as, for example, COPD, i.e. the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or lung cancer, are directly related to breathing air contaminated by dust. In addition, atmospheric air pollution is associated with a significant deterioration of the respiratory, circulatory and central nervous systems. The Specialist Hospital of Lung Diseases in Zakopane sensitizes patients to the direct cause and effect relationships between many diseases and the air quality, while stressing that they are not the only diseases directly related to the respiratory system, but they also include such as: myocardial infarction, hypertension, stroke brain, infertility, Alzheimer’s disease, problems with concentration and anxiety.

From assumptions to actions

Grzegorz Ratter, the President of the Management Board of Municipal Company of Thermal Energy in Nowy Targ, presented the concept of the development of the heating network in the city of Nowy Targ. Residents of Nowy Targ are more and more willing to declare their participation in the network heating. The comfort of heat acquisition, as well as modern equipment and installations equipped with filters limiting the emission of dust to the environment convince more and more inhabitants of Nowy Targ to be connected to the network. Thanks to the national and EU funds, Municipal Company of Thermal Energy in Nowy Targ is planning to dynamically expand the existing heating network, connect new customers and renovate the existing network within the coming few years. The Company’s activities are aimed at the target use of geothermal energy in order to reduce the emissivity in the region. The planned project includes the development of a district heating network in the city center and the extension of a district heating network of the streets located in the southern part of the city, as well as the modernization of the existing district heating networks. Interestingly, the Company’s activities are oriented towards the target use of renewable energy sources.

Access to information

The Head of Nowy Targ – Grzegorz Watycha also presented his experience. He drew attention to the need to introduce system solutions at the national level, especially in the field of fuel quality and dust emission to the atmosphere. He also presented the actions of the local government that limit low emission. The most important of them primarily include the replacement of low-efficiency solid fuel devices with environmentally friendly gas-powered devices or renewable energy sources. In order to carry out the tasks limiting low emission, the city of Nowy Targ joined the implementation of the “Implementation of the air quality plan for the Malopolska Region – Malopolska in a healthy atmosphere” LIFE Integrated Project. The Eco-manager employed in the office provides advice for residents every day, helps get and settle subsidies for a new source of heat, conducts information and educational campaigns. Nowy Targ also focused on improving the air quality through activities concerning transport. The Nowy Targ Police inspects exhaust fumes using specialized equipment, excluding the most onerous vehicles from car traffic.

The model flows from the Malopolska Region

The legal provisions concerning air protection introduced in the Malopolska Region were also discussed during the debate. Katarzyna Stadnik from the Marshal’s Office of the Malopolska Region presented the most important provisions of the anti-smog resolution. They include, first of all, the following:
• the possibility of using a coal and wood furnace installed after 1 July 2017 with emission parameters designated for the eco-design,
• the need for replacing non-class furnaces by the end of 2022 and the 3rd and 4th class furnaces until the end of 2026,
• ban on the use of muds and fleets and wet wood.
The summary of the debate also presented the effects of the implementation of the Integrated LIFE Project. The program significantly contributes to the implementation of the objectives of the Air Quality Program for the Malopolska. It also acts together with the so-called anti-smog resolution, as a model to be used by other regions when they want to join the activities for the benefit of clean air.

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