The use of non-Polish coal may be the cause of smog, the Environment Minister announced. He announced his revelations in the Sejm.
On Thursday 26 January, Environment Minister Jan Szyszko answered MPs' questions on smog at the Sejm. The problem of heavily polluted air in Polish cities was publicised after smog standards were exceeded by up to several hundred per cent at the beginning of the year. The minister admitted that smog does indeed exist and that the situation "can be worrying".
Szyszko informed MEPs that, according to an inspection carried out by the Environmental Inspectorate in 2015, out of 46 zones in Poland, 39 had exceeded concentration standards for PM10. For PM2.5, standards were exceeded in 23 zones. For benzopyrene, standards were exceeded in as many as 44 zones.
In his opinion, the poor quality of coal that Poles burn in their cookers is responsible for Polish smog. He also admitted that Polish coal is of "much better quality" than that imported from abroad, especially from the East. According to the Wyborcza.pl portal, however, this is not true. According to the experts cited by the journalists, the real cause of smog is the burning of coal of the worst quality, the so-called sludge, sold by domestic mines at very favourable prices.
Minister Szyszko assured that the government was serious about the smog issue and the fight against the phenomenon was included in the 'Strategy for Responsible Development'. Interestingly, the government's plenipotentiary for solving the smog problem is the Minister of Development and Minister of Finance Mateusz Morawiecki, and not the head of the Environment Ministry Jan Szyszko.