On the Polish-Czech border, our southern neighbors have better air, and as a result, they live one year longer than Poles – according to a report prepared by Polish and Czech scientists.
The analysis of research results in the Opole, Lower Silesia and the Czech Jesenik voivodeships was carried out by scientists from the Opole Branch of Materials, Process and Environmental Engineering of the Łukasiewicz Research Network with the participation of specialists from the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management in Katowice and the Epidemiological Research Center of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ostrava.
As Grzegorz Siemiątkowski from the Łukasiewicz Research Network explains, for the first time data on air pollution on both sides of the Polish-Czech border are being compared, at the same time trying to determine the impact of its quality on the life expectancy of residents.
According to data from the report, Czechs living in the study area live one year longer than their Polish neighbors. One of the reasons is the much higher level of air pollution on the Polish side.
– The level of air pollution in both countries is different. This is primarily due to the fact that the number of people living on the Polish side is much, much larger. The second problem is the fact that on the Polish side there are more sources of low emissions, i.e. coal- and wood-fired furnaces – says Dr. Leszek Ośródka, director of the Air Pollution Modeling Department of the IMiGW in Katowice.
He points out that Czechs use district heating to a greater extent than Poles, and have been successfully introducing solutions to reduce smog for many years, including: promoting gas heating, which most Czechs can afford.
– We need to introduce systemic solutions, i.e. replace furnaces and abandon the tradition of burning coal, which is very popular in Silesia and the Opole region. So far, only Kraków has introduced an absolute ban on burning solid fuel, notes the Center.
According to him, as long as coal is cheaper than gas and electricity, it will find buyers. – If we superimposed a poverty map on the air pollution map, it would turn out that where the level of wealth is the lowest, we have the highest pollution. In the Czech Republic, the standard of living is much greater, he added.
According to data from Dr. Vítězslav Jiřík from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ostrava, in Poland the concentration of carcinogenic substances is twice as high, i.e. the risk of developing cancer as a result of breathing polluted air is twice as high as in the Czech Republic. Additionally, air pollution increases the number of cases of cardiovascular, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
– In this case, the risk of premature deaths is also much higher on the Polish side than on the Czech side, although on our side the risk is higher than the European average – notes Dr. Jiřík.