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News 8 June 2022

Breathe Warsaw: new initiative launched to clean the air in Poland’s capital

Eve Alcock
‘Breathe Warsaw’, launched by the City of Warsaw, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Clean Air Fund, will strengthen data and provide technical assistance to improve air quality across Warsaw.
DataEuropean Union

Today, the City of Warsaw launched ‘Breathe Warsaw’, an ambitious partnership with Clean Air Fund and Bloomberg Philanthropies to improve air quality in Poland’s capital.

Air quality in Warsaw exceeds the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and EU pollution limits. If Warsaw met WHO guidelines, an estimated 1,500 deaths could be prevented annually. With 859 cars per 1,000 habitants, Warsaw has one of the highest vehicle ownership rates in Europe. Cleaner air would improve public health and economic productivity across the city.

Breathe Warsaw, inspired by a similar initiative in London, will provide technical assistance to boost the city’s air quality data. The partnership will also build the capacity of policymakers to deploy ambitious policies that tackle air pollution, benefitting climate and public health. The initiative supports the EU’s Zero Pollution Action Plan to reduce the number of premature deaths by 55% by 2030.

Warsaw’s network of air quality sensors across 165 locations is the largest in Europe. Breathe Warsaw will leverage this network to develop a comprehensive air quality database, allowing officials to better understand pollution sources. The initiative will also provide technical assistance and policy research to:

  • Design an ambitious low-emission zone in the capital by 2024
  • Advance cleaner heating systems and support the phase-out of coal heating
  • Connect local leaders and organisations to share best practice across the region
  • Mobilise local partners around clean air campaigns.

Warsaw is not afraid to face its challenges and the fight against air pollution is definitely one of them…Ambitious goals require specific, professional actions. That is why today we start a partnership with entities who are experts in improving air quality.

Rafał Trzaskowski – Mayor of Warsaw

More cities are waking up to the dual threat air pollution poses to public health and the health of our climate, and by taking bold steps forward, they can inspire others to follow.

Michael Bloomberg – The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies

Addressing the air quality crisis will have multiple benefits for public health, economic productivity and fighting climate change. Local leadership and initiative are key in the fight for clean air, and that’s why projects like Breathe Warsaw are so important.

Jane Burston, Executive Director at the Clean Air Fund

In 2019, Warsaw joined other major cities in signing the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration, in which it committed to measure and substantially reduce its air pollution levels. The Declaration now has 48 signatory cities.   

Get the latest updates on Clean Air Fund’s work on air quality data by subscribing to our mailing list.

From left to right: Alice Miller (Head of Breathe Global Project Development at Clean Air Fund), Annya Schneider (Project Associate at Bloomberg), Rafał Trzaskowski (Mayor of Warsaw), Jane Burston (Executive Director of Clean Air Fund) and Agata De Ru (Poland Portfolio Manager at Clean Air Fund). Photo credit: City of Warsaw.

Photo Credit: City of Warsaw