For the second time within a month City Hall took the previously unprecedented step of declaring a day of free public transport in a desperate bid to break up a bank of smog that has settled over the capital. The low-hanging cloud is the result of two factors: a sudden plunge in temperatures that has led to a surge in the use of domestic fireplaces and low wind speeds. Together, this combination of circumstances has created a situation where the increased emissions have not been dispersed. An announcement made by the Deputy Mayor warned children, the elderly and those with heart and respiratory ailments to remain indoors.
Despite these measures, environmental groups are furious with what they see as the local council’s continued inaction when it comes to dealing with air pollution. Speaking to the Insider one activist claimed that the steps taken by the city have been too little, too late: “it’s hilarious that Warsaw has the nerve to put itself forward in international competitions as a ‘Green City’ – we’re Europe’s most polluted country and still the government, both local and national, does nothing to tackle these problems.”
According to data released by AirVisual, no other major city in the world recorded higher levels of air pollution on Monday than Warsaw. But the capital is not the only conurbation currently choking: in the town of Rybnik school children were ordered to stay at home after pollution climbed to 3,126% of the EU standard. (AW)