Clean air leader
The current position of the city is the result of many years of efforts undertaken by the Mayor of Krakow City to introduce an anti-smog resolution prohibiting the use of solid fuels in the Municipality of Krakow. The first such appeal was sent to the Marshal of the Lesser Poland Voivodship as early as 2009. The first anti-smog resolution adopted by the Council of the Lesser Poland Voivodship already in 2013 was appealed and annulled by the Provincial Administrative Court in 2015. However, the Commune did not discourage and gradually conducted activities in towards the elimination of coal furnaces.
In 2016, thanks to amendments to the Environmental Protection Law Act, the President of the City of Krakow again applied to the Marshal of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship for a ban on the use of solid fuels in the City of Krakow. As a result, on January 15, 2016, a resolution banning coal and wood from September 1, 2019 was adopted. The year 2016 was also a breakthrough for the Low-Emission Reduction Program conducted by the city for 20 years. In the interest of enabling all residents to change the heating system for a pro-ecological amount of subsidy that could be obtained for this purpose, it was even 100% of the eligible costs incurred. Only in the last 7 years, under the Low Emission Reduction Program, over 20,000 have been liquidated in Krakow. coal furnaces, for which the city has allocated nearly PLN 300 million. There is no other city in Poland where the process of reducing low emissions would be as fast as in Kraków. The year 2017 was record-breaking, in which more than 6,000 were liquidated under Low-Emission Reduction Program furnaces, boilers and fireplaces, which translated into nearly PLN 86 million in subsidies. The year 2018 brought liquidation of another 4 thousand non-ecological heating system and over PLN 50 million support for this purpose. We estimate that there were 4 thousand left to liquidate in 2019 furnaces.
Support for residents
Allowing residents to adapt to the impending ban was a priority activity of the City of Krakow, which is why two support programs were launched. The Social Welfare Scheme is aimed at the less affluent residents of Krakow and allows for receiving subsidies for people changing the heating system under the Low-Emission Reduction Program. However, the residents of Krakow can benefit from the Local Scheme Program, who as a result of changing the heating system to the pro-ecological system incur increased heating costs. In the fight for clean air Krakow also reaches for other tools – ecological bus fleet, free communication for everyone during the period of severe smog, pilot program of drone use to detect waste incineration, or purchase of 1590 air purifiers, which went to local nurseries, kindergartens and schools. In total, all air self-government nurseries, over 140 kindergartens and almost 20 local government schools have been equipped with air purifiers. During the heating season, 32 officers of the City Guard conduct inspections, among others in respect of compliance with the ban on waste incineration and the use of appropriate fuels and quality certificates. During the year, Krakow organizes educational campaigns and outdoor events aimed at direct interaction with residents, showing that care for greenery, cleanliness, reasonable waste management and change in heating affect the quality of life of every Cracovian (including: green you take care of the clean air you have, I am EKO, tree behind the tree). Krakow also organizes events in the framework of international initiatives, such as the Earth Days, the European Week of Sustainable Transport and the European Day without a Car.
The Małopolskie Voivodeship has launched a portal devoted to broadly defined measures to improve air quality – Malopolska in a healthy atmosphere. With its help, residents can gain knowledge not only about legal solutions, but also practical tips for people wanting to change the source of heat.
Liquidation of coal boilers
In addition to the program focused on co-financing the removal of coal-fired furnaces and boilers, the city is carrying out work related to the expansion of the municipal heating network – it’s pure energy generated in heat plants with efficient filters, thanks to which they have a minimal impact on air quality in Krakow. Thanks to the work carried out in the city center itself, in the areas of Barska St., św. Anna, Wiślna, Koletek, Saint. Agnieszka, Topolowa, Rakowicka, Czapski, Piłsudski and Straszewski, city heat flowed to next 249 buildings, in which a total of 2403 hearths were liquidated. The total length of the new network built as part of the fight against smog is 59.2 km. Only in 2018 it was planned to connect another 60 buildings to eliminate 410 hearths – for this purpose, a further 20 km of networks were built.
Krakow Metropolis Association - common activities
Krakow, however, is not the only municipality of the Association that has plans to dismantle the hearths. In autumn 2018 members of the Krakow Metropolis Association adopted the plan “Decommissioning plan for coal boilers in the Krakow Metropolitan Area until 2022”. The document contains recommendations for communal policies and a common position of municipalities in relation to external conditions related to replacement of coal boilers. According to the provisions of the Plan, by June 2019, a detailed inventory of heat sources will be carried out in all communes near Krakow. The municipalities will employ additional personnel dedicated to combating air pollution. The effective implementation of the provisions of the “anti-smog resolution” also requires legislative support, which is why the municipalities will seek to introduce the obligation to register the heating source for solid fuel. Municipalities do not forget about inspections. In the heating season 2018/2019, it is planned to carry out approx. system controls.
In 2018 Krakow for the second time carried out a loud campaign together with 14 municipalities near Cracow (Zielonki, Michałowice, Kocmyrzów-Luborzyca, Igołomia-Wawrzeńczyce, Niepołomice, Biskupice, Wieliczka, Świątniki Górne, Mogilany, Skawina, Czernichów, Liszki, Zabierzów, Wielka Wieś ), whose main motto was Let’s be together in the fight for clean air! The action was to draw the attention of residents that if they heat the house with an old coal boiler they should use good quality fuel, stop using poor quality fuel and burn plastic, furniture and other rubbish, and become acquainted with the furnace replacement procedure. The following website has also been launched for the campaign: www. wympiec.info containing information on improving air quality and furnace replacement. A great distinction for the municipalities associated in the Krakow Metropolis Association was the receipt in 2018 of a common reward in the competition “# ekoLIDERZY2018 of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship” organized by the Provincial Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Krakow. The competition appreciated the joint education and information campaign carried out at the turn of 2017/2018 under the slogan “Let’s be together in the fight for clean air!”, Which was awarded in the category “#ECECONTOCOLUTION of local self-government”.
In addition, part of the municipalities near Kraków participates in the project Implementing the air protection program for the Małopolska province – Małopolska in a healthy atmosphere, financed under the EU LIFE program. As a result, the municipalities employed project advisers – they focused on supporting the air protection program, assistance in obtaining external funds for measures limiting pollution emissions and mobilizing residents to join the activity. As part of the latter, Ekodoradcy ran educational campaigns in municipalities, including those that were directed to students. In addition, they provided advice on the exchange of heat sources, thermo-modernization or energy management. Each year, the municipalities apply for additional funds for replacing furnaces with the program of the Voivodship Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management.