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|Rzeszow, Subcarpathian Voivodeship
|Zielona Gora, Lubusz
|Wroclaw, Lower Silesia
|Koszalin, Greater Poland
|Krakow, Lesser Poland Voivodeship
|Lodz, Lodz Voivodeship
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level
|Air quality index
| 68 US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Krakow is currently 4 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Saturday, Mar 2
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 131 AQI US
|Sunday, Mar 3
Moderate 99 AQI US
|Monday, Mar 4
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 122 AQI US
Moderate 68 AQI US
|Wednesday, Mar 6
Moderate 70 AQI US
|Thursday, Mar 7
Moderate 54 AQI US
|Friday, Mar 8
Moderate 55 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 9
Moderate 57 AQI US
|Sunday, Mar 10
Moderate 59 AQI US
|Monday, Mar 11
Moderate 58 AQI US
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Kraków as it is written in Polish or Krakow in English is the second-largest city behind the capital of Warsaw. It is located in Lesser Poland on the Vistula River. At the end of 2019, the population was estimated to be over 1.7 million in its entire metropolitan area.
At the start of 2021, Krakow was experiencing “Moderate” quality air with a US AQI figure of 65. The concentration levels of particulate matter were as follows: PM2.4 - 18.9 µg/m³ and PM10 - 40.3 µg/m³. With concentrations as high as these, the advice is to close doors and windows to prevent the ingress of dirty air and those of a sensitive disposition should avoid outdoor activity until the air quality improves.
In 2019 during the colder winter months, the air quality was “Unhealthy” for sensitive groups” with figures between 35.5 and 55.4 µg/m³. Probably due to the increased need to heat the homes with fossil fuels. For the remainder of the year, the level was classed as “Moderate” with readings between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³. Over the last few years, the air quality has been marginally improving. 2017 saw levels of 30.2 µg/m³ whilst 2018 returned readings of 28.9 µg/m³. In 2019 it was 24.6 µg/m³.
Krakow smog is already widely known in Poland. Many people who drive into the city see this with their own eyes how the initially blue sky turns grey and finally becomes severely smoky. Of course, the inhabitants notice less and feel the air pollution less, but the habit does not mean that the smog is less disastrous for them! The causes of the Krakow smog include: burning of low-quality coal in coal-fired stoves, still quite often used in and around the city, pollution from transport in Krakow, as many people use personal vehicles on a daily basis for their commute into the city. The construction of air corridors which allow some pollutants to be blown away from the city and bring fresh air into it.
There is a whole raft of measures that are in the planning stage in order to improve the air quality in Krakow. These include, but are not limited to: the introduction of restrictions on the use of solid fuel installations, the expansion and modernisation of heating networks, the expansion of gas networks and the elimination of garbage incineration. The limitation of emissions from transport: to include the extension of the restricted traffic zone and limited paid parking, the improvement in the organisation in traffic flow, the development of public transport and implementation of energy-saving low-emission solutions in public transport and encouragement and/or incentives for the public to use it and introduce and extend the cycle network throughout the city.
Krakow became the first Polish city to be heated by sustainable fuels and not by pollution-causing fossil fuels from 1st September 2019, and it is hoped that other cities will follow suit.
People with low incomes are covered by the Local Shielding Program. Under this program, since 2014, support has been provided to cover the increased heating costs of the premises in connection with a permanent change of the heating system. More favourable terms of finance were also introduced to make the scheme appeal to more residents. In 2018, the Krakow City Council introduced new rules for granting aid for a permanent change of the heating system.
A proposition has been put forward to extend the tram system with priority given to Krakow Fast Tram. A new development of the traffic management system which would give priority for public transport, together with the improvement of traffic conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. More cycle routes are to be introduced and footpaths made wider and smoother.
It is also intended to replace the city bus fleet with vehicles that meet the highest exhaust emission standards and electric buses.
City bypasses will be expanded or introduced where necessary and traffic will be redirected away from the city centre if and where possible. The Implementation of the Parking Service Program for the City of Krakow which will include the extension of paid parking zones and the construction of Park & Ride car parks.
Regardless of the causes and sources of smog in a city, it has an impact on the health of the people who live in it. The awareness of the threat should be related to limiting the activities that increase smog such as burning rubbish in stoves or driving a car for short distances that can be easily covered on foot, by bike or by public transport. The slogan "Krakow smog" is often searched for on the Internet in the context of the health risks it brings. Therefore, it is worth explaining briefly that in Poland, 45,000 people a year die from it, and about 10 per cent suffer from asthma, which is also life-threatening.
Despite the obvious link between exposure to air pollution and respiratory disease, most deaths attributed to air pollution are associated with cardiovascular disease. Increased exposure to pollutants increases the risk of, among others, myocardial infarction or sudden cardiac arrest. A particularly strong relationship between exposure to air pollutants (both particulate and gaseous) is observed in ischemic stroke.
Exposure to air pollution not only exacerbates existing cardiovascular diseases but also plays an important role in their development in previously healthy people. Taking into account the results of epidemiological studies, chronic exposure to air pollution was considered one of the causes of cardiovascular diseases in humans.
In 2013, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified particulate matter PM2.5 and PM10 as a proven group one carcinogen. A year earlier, exhaust fumes emitted by diesel engines were also considered carcinogenic, which, moreover, had been classified as a substance "probably carcinogenic to humans" as early as 1988.
Many studies confirm the relationship between breathing polluted air and the risk of developing certain cancers, especially lung cancer, but also bladder cancer.
It is worth emphasizing that the risk of lung cancer associated with long-term exposure to air pollution is usually significantly lower than the risk associated with long-term smoking. However, unlike tobacco smoke, virtually everyone is exposed to breathing polluted air.
5 Data sources