Polish power plant pollution puts health of citizens at risk

A recent decision by the EU Commission to grant Polish power plants more time to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants has upset health groups. The Polish government had requested a three-year time extension under a so-called Transitional National Plan (TNP), which was given the go-ahead by the EU this week.

For Poland, the TNP translates into the release of thousands of tons of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and dust, compared to a scenario without a TNP. These additional emissions amount to external health costs of €2.4 - 6.8 billion over the course of three years. More importantly, people in Poland will be paying for these costs through a high rate of heart and lung disease.

Six Polish cities are among the ten most polluted locations in Europe, where the EU’s limits for particulate matter (PM) are exceeded on average on one out of three days. It is estimated that up to 86 per cent of the Polish urban population is exposed to dirty air that does not meet the EU’s air quality standards. Of the 73 power plants listed for exemption to pollute more, 59 are in zones where EU air quality standards are being breached.

Source HEAL: press release, 19 February 2014  

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