The Court of Justice finds that Poland has infringed EU law on air quality

The Court of Justice finds that Poland has infringed EU law on air quality

On Thursday, 22nd February 2018, the European Court of Justice issued a verdict in the case against Poland for exceeding the levels of permissible PM10 levels, finding the Polish authorities guilty of breaking the EU law in the period from 2007 to 2013. This period was related to the European Commission’s complaint against Poland.

The Union law obligates all Member States to maintain air quality, so that it does not jeopardize the health of citizens. In Poland, the permissible concentrations of smog have been exceeded for many years, way above the EU standards.

Unfortunately, the effective tools for addressing this problem and giving hope for improvement have not been put in place. Fuel quality standards could be such a solution, as that would eliminate the massive use of the most types of coal waste by households. The main cause of smog in the winter season is the burning of coal and its derivatives for the needs of heating, the so-called “low emissions”.

In the summer, energy generated especially by old coal blocks, as well as transport and industry, bring smog over the cities. The polluted air is causing irreversible health effects.

As Piotr Guła, the leader of the Polish Smog Alarm, says, the matter is serious. “Poland is a country of smog. Poland is a red island on the map of Europe in terms of air pollution concerning PM10/PM2.5 or carcinogenic benzoapirenem.”

Watch an episode of our film entitled “Poisonous air” to find out more.

On the day of announcing the verdict, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared an immediate implementation of a pilot program aimed at thermomodernization of private homes as well as acceleration of works on the bill regulating quality standards for solid fuels.

Deputy Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology, Piotr Woźny, who is responsible for the issues of clean air, on this occasion announced that within nine years a special „Clean Air Operational Program for Poland” shall be prepared and approved with the EU.