The central Polish region of Mazovia, home to the capital city Warsaw, has adopted a bold policy to phase out and ban coal for domestic heating. Warsaw is one of Poland’s most polluted cities and Mazovia sees 6,000 deaths a year from poor air quality.
Mazovia’s regional council voted in an ambitious amendment to its anti-smog resolution to ban coal-fired household heating in Warsaw by October 2023 and in the rest of the region by 2028.
The council’s first reading of the anti-smog legislation earlier this year was met with significant opposition from Poland’s solid fuels industry. In response, Clean Air Fund supported organisations, such as the European Clean Air Centre and Polish Smog Alert to strengthen calls to phase out coal heating in homes.
Clean Air Fund and the Polish clean air movement met Mazovia government officials to emphasise the policy’s critical role in reducing air pollution, and experts provided evidence at crucial council committees. Our grantees also led targeted media campaigns to share facts on the impacts of air pollution and to dispel misinformation about the policy.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has raised energy security fears in Poland, but clean air campaigners persuaded the regional authorities to persist with their ambition to transition from coal to zero emission energy.
Domestic burning of coal – so-called ‘low stack emissions’ – is a major contributor to Poland’s unhealthy air. Domestic heating is a major source of pollution in the Mazovia region, which is home to 14% of Poland’s 38 million population. This hard-won policy will cut CO2 emissions by an estimated 3.6 megatonnes per year, which is the equivalent of 775,000 cars being taken off the roads.
This momentous move away from coal was supported by over 10,000 people, a petition and a lengthy campaign that united doctors, scientists, decision-makers, campaigners and ordinary citizens. The decision is also a symbol of wider change: coal burning will be forbidden in the capital of a country that is highly dependent on fossil fuel.”Anna Dworakowksa – Polish Smog Alert