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|1||Krakow, Lesser Poland Voivodeship|
|6||Wroclaw, Lower Silesia|
|7||Poznan, Greater Poland|
|8||Lodz, Lodz Voivodeship|
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Unhealthy for sensitive groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for sensitive groups|| 130 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Katowice is currently 9.5 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 124 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Unhealthy 151 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Unhealthy 154 AQI US
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 130 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 9|
Moderate 78 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 10|
Moderate 64 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 11|
Moderate 55 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 12|
Moderate 56 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 13|
Moderate 64 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 14|
Moderate 71 AQI US
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Katowice is a city located in the southern region of Poland, being the capital of the Silesian province as well as holding the title of 11th largest city in the country, with a population count of some 292 thousand people living in the city, and a considerable amount more living amongst the extended urban area of Katowice. It has a long history of being an industrial area, with rich deposits of coal having been discovered in the 1700’s, which from then on heralded a future of further industrial development as well as an influx of workers, traders and merchants. Nowadays, it sees itself being home to many centers of business, industry and science, classed as a gamma global city and thus of significant value as an economic stronghold in both Poland and Europe.
Regarding the air quality registered in Katowice, in 2019 it came in with a yearly PM2.5 average of 26 μg/m³, a reading that placed it into the ‘moderate’ ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classed as such. This is a relatively high reading for a European city, with some of its months coming in considerably higher, which will be discussed in further detail. Katowice’s reading of 26 μg/m³ also placed it in 579th place out of all cities ranked worldwide, as well as 5th place out of all cities in Poland. This is indicative that Katowice is subject to some significant levels of pollution.
As one of Europe’s largest coal producers, Katowice would unfortunately be subject to much of its pollutive fallout, both from the mining and extraction of it, as well as the use and exportation of it. In the mind of many locals, the city of Katowice is synonymous with coal, steel and mining, a significant insight into why the pollution levels here are at less than appreciable levels (with 579th place out of all cities ranked worldwide being extremely high for a European city).
So, in following, one of the main causes of pollution in Katowice would be from the burning of coal, to meet the power needs of the city and its extended urban area. Power plants and factories would go through large amounts of it, as well as providing energy to homes and businesses to keep them warm during the colder winter months. Mining of said material can also cause large amounts of fine particulate matter to enter into the atmosphere, which can be extremely harmful for those who work in such areas as well as those in the surrounding vicinity. Other sources of pollution would be the ever present use of vehicles, with cars, bike, trucks and lorries all pouring out large amounts of smoke and haze.
Observing the data taken over the course of 2019, Katowice had a clear correlation emerge in regards to its higher levels of PM2.5, distinctly so with the colder months of the year, with the winter months being the time of the year when the PM2.5 levels were at their most elevated. It was in November when a noticeable change was observed, with the prior month of October coming in at a decent reading of 14 μg/m³, which then jumped up massively to 37.7 μg/m³ in the following month, and then again even further to 38.1 μg/m³ in December.
These elevations in pollution continued on into the early months of the next year, with some of the highest readings taken in the first two months, with January and February coming in at 45.8 μg/m³ and 44.8 μg/m³ respectively, making November through to February of the following year not only the most polluted period, but with all 4 months coming in with the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ rating, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 35.5 to 55.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. January was the most polluted month of the year, with its PM2.5 reading of 45.8 μg/m³ putting it in this spot.
In following from the previous question, as was stated, the month of February is when the pollution levels hit their last peak, and quickly started to deflate from there on out. March came in with a PM2.5 reading of 30.5 μg/m³, followed by 26.4 μg/m³ in April and 18.3 μg/m³ in May, showing the distinct drop in pollution levels over the course of those 3 months, bringing them down from dangerous levels to readings that carry with them significantly less risk (albeit still with some health hazards, with any reading of PM2.5 in the air having the possibility of causing ill effects).
From June through to October is when the cleanest period of the year was observed in Katowice, and although not a single month managed to break into a cleaner category of air (such as the ‘good’ air quality rating which requires a PM2.5 reading of 10 to 12 μg/m³), they were coming in significantly lower than the colder months of the year. June to October came in with their readings of 14.3 μg/m³, 12.9 μg/m³, 12.7 μg/m³, 14.3 μg/m³ and 14 μg/m³ respectively, making August the cleanest month of the year with its reading of 12.7 μg/m³ and only 0.7 units away from moving into the ‘good’ ratings bracket.
With much of its pollution stemming from the aforementioned sources, Katowice would be subject to large amounts of pollutants such as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC's) in the air, both of which are formed from the incomplete combustion of both fossil fuels and organic material (such as wood that can be burnt inside homes during the colder winter months for heating), and as such would be found in large quantities in the air of a city that sees much of its industry revolve around coal. Black carbon is the main component of soot, and is a potent carcinogen when inhaled. It is also released from car exhaust fumes (or any source of combustion), alongside other chemical pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) or sulfur dioxide (SO2).
6 Data sources