Kraków as the green island on the map of pollution? Surely it's too early for such an unambiguous statement. But after recent solid fuel heating ban from city authorities, an interesting phenomenon occured.
Kraków is one of the most beautiful, yet one of the most air-polluted cities in Europe.There are a few reasons of this situation. The historic city is set in a valley, from year to year surrounded by an ever denser garland of estates. Heavy industry set in the outskirts of the city and road traffic are also a huge factor that causes the problem. There is one more source of air pollution in Krakow. Many people in the suburbs of the city used outdated heating stoves to heat their houses during the colder part of the year. Moreover, lot of people had bad heating habits by low quality and potentially toxic materials like low-quality coal or sometimes ever rubber or plastic rubbish.
The city authorities realized that they had to do something about the problem. So they began a painstaking process of helping residents (also financially) in replacing outdated furnaces in their homes. The effect of these changes is the solid fuel ban on September 1 this year.
At first it seemed that many people were very skeptical about the effectiveness of this idea. The start of the heating season was to be a real test.
The first opportunity came at the beginning of October, when the temperature at night dropped below zero. And then this happened. On Sunday afternoon, October 6, when car traffic was very moderate, while people were hanging out at home, an interesting phenomenon can be observed.
Airly sensors (green dots on the map) located in the city of Krakow lit up green, while the neighboring municipalities (many single-family houses) glowed red and even purple (a sign of very bad air). In the following hours, as the air knows no boundaries, In the following hours, as the air knows no boundaries, bad air from the so-called "obwarzanek" (bagel, donut) has started to spread throughout Krakow, gradually deteriorating the air quality.
The next day, (October 7th) as the temperature went almost below zero in the late evening, a similar situation occured. The next days brought warmer temperatures, therefore, the situation with air quality has stabilized. The next clash with smog will come when the frost comes again. I wonder if the green city effect will also be outlined against the red background.
So Kraków as the green island on the map of pollution? Surely it's too early for such an unambiguous statement. We will definitely know if there is any real change after introducing the solid fuel heating ban in the city when the whole heating season ends.
But one thing is for sure, and definitely the cities and municipalities should start their battle with air pollution with obtaining this. Thanks to the dense Airly sensors network, we can thoroughly measure and analyze the air quality in the Krakow agglomeration. And what about your city?
Visit map.airly.eu to check air quality in your area.
Written and Published by: Marcin Gnat