Two Polish mayors united against the air pollution

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Cities play a very important role when it comes to fighting air pollution. They can, for example, decrease car usage by building more walking and cycling lanes or by ensuring better and more sustainable public transport which will be gladly used by the citizens, instead of their personal vehicles. 

Air pollution is becoming one of the biggest threats to the people and to the environment as it is causing long-term negative health effects which include heart and respiratory diseases, lung cancer and other.

Generally speaking, the air pollution is the contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment caused by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. It is caused by household combustion devices, motor vehicles, and industries which are all common sources of air pollution.

Mayor of Warsaw Rafał Trzaskowski and mayor of Burgas Dimitar Nikolov are very conscious of this problem and are trying to raise awareness about it even more. Together, these mayors wrote why it is important for Europe to do more to tackle air pollution, as it has become one of the main problems in the cities and has a drastic effect on people’s health.

“As mayors, we are prepared to do everything we can to reduce the number of toxic particles in our air, but this is not an issue that stops at the city gates. We need national and EU level accountability to tackle all sources of pollution and ensure a continuous and rapid decrease of harmful pollutants in the air we all breathe”, wrote mayors Rafał Trzaskowski and Dimitar Nikolov.

Both mayors also highlighted what they are doing in the cities of Warsaw and Bourgas to tackle air pollution.

For example, In Warsaw, over 4,500 black-smoke-belching stoves have been decommissioned since 2017. The city is also actively working with residents to install renewable energy options by offering co-financing and raising awareness about the city’s services. Since 2017, the city of Warsaw has provided 4,415 solar panel grants totaling 34.6 MW of electricity production. On top of that, the city is leading by example and already has over 140 solar panel installations on city infrastructure facilities with a total capacity of 9.3 MW.

The two mayors want to improve the quality of life in their cities and they are already putting much effort into finding a solution to this big problem. In Burgas, for example, there is a mobile air quality monitoring station that can test levels of pollution throughout the city. Warsaw will soon host one of Europe’s largest networks of sensors to monitor air quality in 165 locations throughout the city and surrounding municipalities. These sensors will be sharing data 24 hours a day on the Warsaw IoT platform and via mobile application. (photo credit: Matthias Heyde/Unsplash)