Smog in Poland. It’s better, but it’s still far from the goal (MAP)

Luc Williams

About a week ago, during the last severe frosts, combined with windless, sunny weather, we had very strong episodes in cities that, it would seem, have largely put an end to the problem of air pollution. An example is Poznań, which for a short time was included in the list of the most polluted cities in the world according to the Air Quality Index website.

– This is not the most reliable source, because only results from large cities with a population of several hundred thousand are taken into account, so there are no towns such as Pszczyna or Nowy Targ – says Piotr Siergiej, spokesman for the Polish Smog Alert, in an interview with Kraków and Wrocław were also on the list at that time. However, in Poznań, the concentration of PM2.5 dust (the finest and most harmful to health) reached 320-330 μg/m3. Meanwhile, the recommendation of the World Health Organization states that the permissible concentration of PM2.5 in the air is 15 μg/m3.

Numerous incidents

The incidents in question occurred on January 11. Then, according to the Chief Inspectorate of Environmental Protection, the alarm level for suspended dust PM10 was exceeded in the following locations:

  • in the Opole Voivodeship: in Zdzieszowice (204.2 µg/m3), in Opole (191.7 µg/m3) and in Kędzierzyn-Koźle (160.5 µg/m3);
  • and in Krosno in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship (177.1 µg/m3).

On the same day, the PM10 level was exceeded in individual locations:

  • in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship: in Kłodzko (143.0 µg/m3) and Nowa Ruda (118.1 µg/m3);
  • in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship: in Oświęcim (113.3 µg/m3);
  • in the Opole Voivodeship: in Oleśno (107.5 µg/m3) and in Brzeg (102.0 µg/m3);
  • in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship: in Mielec (102.2 µg/m3);
  • in the Silesian Voivodeship: in Żywiec (132.6 µg/m3), in Dąbrowa Górnicza (111.0 µg/m3) and in Lubliniec (102.5 µg/m3);
  • in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship: in Nowiny (117.1 µg/m3) and in Kielce (108.3 µg/m3).

Smog incidents recorded on January 11, 2024 in the southern part of Poland / / Patryk Koch

No wind

What happened to cause such a strong smog episode? According to Pyotr Sergei, the answer is simple: the wind stopped blowing. – Air pollution that is constantly produced in the heating system has been “exposed” by the windless weather. In those days, all of Poland had similar levels of pollution as in Poznań. This shows that the fight against smog is still going on, the boilers are being replaced, but the weather has put us to sleep. So far, the winter has been light, in December, apart from a few days at the beginning of the month, we did not have any major problems with smog, so it seemed that we would avoid it. Unfortunately, it turned out that the smog problem still exists, only masked by the windy weather – he says in an interview with

Nevertheless, in the last nine years, when the Polish Smog Alert has been examining air quality in Poland, significant improvement has been visible; average annual concentrations of dust and benzo(a)pyrene are decreasing. However, according to Sergei, this is not significant enough to ensure good air quality during “smog” periods. – We estimate that approximately 1 million boilers were decommissioned over the course of eight years. This does not change the fact that approximately 2.7 million pieces are still smoking, says the PAS spokesman.

What about the Clean Air program?

In this context, it is important what will happen next with the Clean Air program, which allows for subsidizing the replacement of boilers and the insulation of houses. According to the Ministry of Climate and Environment, in the first week of January 2024, the ministry received information from the National Fund for Environmental Protection about arrears in subsidy payments from the Clean Air program. In the second half of the previous year, applications were accepted for implementation without financial support. In mid-December 2023, payments were stopped due to the exhaustion of money in the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management and provincial funds. – These are the consequences of PiS blocking funds from the KPO and not implementing other EU programs. It’s a lack of imagination and living on credit. Poles are paying the bills for this irresponsible policy today, commented Paulina Hennig-Kloska, Minister of Climate and Environment.


Luc's expertise lies in assisting students from a myriad of disciplines to refine and enhance their thesis work with clarity and impact. His methodical approach and the knack for simplifying complex information make him an invaluable ally for any thesis writer.