The Malopolska regional council in southern Poland has voted for the complete withdrawal of domestic burning coal and other solid fuels across the region, including the city of Krakow.
Krakow, the region’s capital, currently holds 3rd place on the list of Europe’s most air-polluted cities.
About 50% of Krakow’s winter air pollution comes from domestic stoves, while 30% from traffic and 20% from power plants.
The city’s households are heavily dependent on coal burning heating systems, and it is estimated that hundreds of people die every year from reasons directly related to air-pollution.
It will be the first city in Poland to impose such a measure.
— Julia Michalak (@Julia_Michalak) November 26, 2013
The ban was ratified on 25 November with coal and wood heating systems to be outlawed from 2018, and giving developers of new buildings just two weeks before the ban kicks in.
Overall, 22 Malopolska councillors voted in favour of the ban – with 11 voting against.
The vote was the result of a two-year campaign by the civil society movement Krakowski Alarm Smogowy, which included Polish and international NGOs as well as thousands of individual citizens.
At the meeting, protesters from the group gathered outside to tell councillors “We Want Clean Air – Ban Coal.”
Critics of the ban also gathered at the meeting – raising concerns over the cost of replacing heating systems to cleaner energy sources. The regional government insisted it would provide financial assisted for those who can not afford to convert their heating.
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