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The new mayor of Krakow, Aleksander Miszalski, is delaying the introduction of the Clean Transport Zone

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From July 1, the oldest cars that emit the most pollutants into the atmosphere were to be banned from entering Krakow. However, the new mayor of the city, Aleksander Miszalski, announced that the decision would be postponed because the city is not yet prepared for such a solution. New, extensive consultations among residents are to be carried out.

It's hard to drive through Krakow, and sometimes it's hard to breathe. In the center of Krakow, exhaust gases are responsible for 45 percent of the PM10 dust concentration and as much as 77 percent of the nitrogen oxide concentration. – Low emissions from solid fuel furnaces have been largely resolved. The problem now is transport pollution, says Filip Jarmakowski from the Krakow Smog Alert.

The improvement of air quality is to be guaranteed by the Clean Transport Zone, which is to be in force from July 1. However, the Mayor of Krakow, Aleksander Miszalski, definitely says that it is necessary to postpone this date. – On the one hand, we do not want to cause chaos, on the other hand, the time is very short, and on the third hand, we know the substantive comments of the residents on this resolution. I promised that we would consult her and soften her up a bit, so it takes some time – he explains.

According to the resolution, diesel cars over 16 years old and petrol cars over 26 years old will not be allowed to enter the city.

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SEE ALSO: How megacities deal with smog. Four ways

Resolution questioned by the court

In January, the Provincial Administrative Court in Krakow invalidated the resolution on the Clean Transport Zone. However, the judgment is not final, which means that the resolution is still in force at this time. – Over the next few weeks, we will decide whether to repeal the resolution – of course, it is the decision of the city councilors – or to modify it in such a way as to postpone the dates of its implementation to a later date, and also to modify it – informs the mayor of Krakow.

The idea of ​​a Clean Transport Zone is controversial. However, health arguments support its introduction.

– This slowdown related to the introduction of the Clean Transport Zone in Krakow means bad news for the inhabitants of Krakow, because the concentrations of nitrogen oxides in this city are several times higher than WHO recommendations, which means that a Clean Transport Zone must be located in Krakow – points out Piotr Siergiej from Polskie Smog Alert.

The Ministry of Climate allocates billions of zlotys to the Clean Air programTVN24

The fight against smog is successful

Every day with smog is a threat to us. The analysis conducted by the Silesian Center for Heart Diseases showed that on days with high concentrations of suspended dust, the mortality rate in cardiovascular diseases increases by 8 percent and the number of strokes increases by 9 percent.

– As for Krakow, it is estimated that the Krakow Clean Transport Zone could save 300 people a year. 300 people could die every year if there were no zone – says Filip Jarmakowski.

In Krakow, in recent years, there has been a radical reduction in the number of so-called Cinderellas brought clear results. From 2012 to 2023, the number of smog days, i.e. days in which the permissible levels of PM10 dust are exceeded, decreased by about 100 days.

READ ALSO: The clock is ticking. There is less and less time to replace the “Cinderellas”.

Clean Transport Zones popular in Europe

Krakow residents notice a clear difference, but further actions are inevitable to improve air quality. – It would be very right, but there is also a financial issue, people want to travel, but not everyone can afford it. We need to find a golden mean for this, says one of the residents of Krakow.

The Clean Transport Zone is not about limiting the number of cars, but limiting substandard cars. – Why are these oldest cars removed from the zones? Precisely because they, these few percent of moving cars, sometimes generate half of the air pollution. It is enough to eliminate a small percentage of cars from the streets of these cities for the air to improve significantly, says Piotr Siergiej.

In Europe, this solution is not new, in fact it is common. – Currently, there are over 300 Clean Transport Zones in Europe, by 2025 there will probably be about 500. In Poland, for now, only one will operate in Warsaw, from July 1 – informs Filip Jarmakowski.

Author:Stefania Kulik

Main photo source: TVN24



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