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Poland's pollution problem

Thursday, December 03, 2015 - 01:41

Poland's coal addiction impacts on tourist spot Krakow's air quality, despite efforts to replace Communist-era furnaces. Sonia Legg reports.

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It attracts 10 million tourists every year but Poland's second largest city has a problem. Krakow is one of the most polluted cities in Europe. (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) KRAKOW RESIDENT, JOANNA GOCAL, SAYING: "It is inconvenient, because you cannot even open the balcony, even when it's warm." (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) TOURIST, EDWARD, SAYING: "When there's no wind and low pressure you can feel it in your lungs and in your airways." Ninety percent of Poland's energy comes from coal and the government has been reluctant to embrace any drive by the EU to curb carbon emissions. Its communist past is partly to blame say some. More than 50,000 homes in Krakow still use old stoves and coal boilers. The second biggest cause of pollution is thought to be from old cars. The authorities are trying to help - Witold Smialek advises the city's Mayor on environmental protection. (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) ADVISOR TO MAYOR OF KRAKOW ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, WITOLD SMIALEK, SAYING: "The issue of replacing a coal furnaces is not a simple decision. People don't have money for regular maintenance, and they are delaying their decisions about replacing furnaces. That is why we, as the municipality of Krakow, are also implementing a protective program, which in some parts but not entirely will refund increased costs for gas or other fuel types." Poland vetoed an amendment to the Kyoto protocol - that was the last attempt to reach a deal on climate change. And it says it will oppose any new bids to tighten EU climate regulations. It's an example perhaps of the challenges facing delegates in Paris as they try and see through the haze of issues around global warming.

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Poland's pollution problem

Thursday, December 03, 2015 - 01:41