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Poland stands out as the most polluted country in Europe

Warsaw, Poland – According to a new report by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary belong to some of the most polluted countries in Europe. Other countries singled out for not meeting WHO standards include Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia.

Poland stands out as the most polluted country in Europe. The researchers write that “the cities of Warsaw and Lodz, and their surrounds areas, see high levels of particulate pullulation,” adding that “residents in Warsaw would gain 1.2 years onto their life expectancy” by meeting the WHO standard.

Poland is also the country with the greatest potential gains in life expectancy if it were to meet the standard. It is then followed by Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The main reason behind Poland’s particularly bad air quality has been the country’s reliance on coal power, accounting for more than 70 percent of energy supply.

When it comes to individual regions, the report finds that the most polluted are Moravskoslezský in the Czech Republic, Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén in Hungary, Košický in Slovakia, and Warsaw in Poland.

But the study also presents some good news for Europe as a whole. Compared to the situation two decades ago, Europeans as a whole have now gained 9 months in life expectancy. Just in the Silesian province of southern Poland, inhabitants gained 2 years.

In the wake of the pandemic, the V4 countries, especially Poland and Slovakia, have seen a huge improvement in air quality.

Under the European Green Deal, Poland will be also among the main recipients of funds aimed at supporting the transition from coal to cleaner energy sources.

However, cuts to the money allocated to the EU Just transition Fund in the last summit of EU leaders as well as Poland’s hesitation to endorse the EU-wide objective of carbon neutral Union by 2050 have cast doubts on the country’s resolve to achieve this goal.

By Matej Voda 

Matej Voda writes about democratic backsliding, popular culture, and disinformation. He is based in Prague. Feel free to check out more of his articles right here! You can also find him on Twitter.