Is smog coming?

One of the most important problems of our country today is the condition of the air. Air pollution has a significant impact on human health, causing many respiratory and circulatory problems. The International Labour Organisation defines air pollution as “any air pollution caused by substances that are harmful to health or otherwise dangerous, regardless of their physical form”. Every year breathing, as strange as it sounds, kills prematurely tens of thousands of Poles. 45 thousand deaths a year is the most frequently mentioned amount.

The biggest problem of Poland is air pollution with extremely high concentrations of dusts whose biggest source is the so-called low emission. This is emission from low chimneys (up to 40 m in height), resulting from the combustion of solid fuels (coal, wood), and often also waste.

The main reason for low emission is the heating of households with solid fuels and their use in small production or commercial plants. Transport is yet another cause of pollution, especially in large agglomerations. The main causes of pollution are: lack of appropriate infrastructure (traffic jams), dynamic growth in the number of cars and their technical condition. In areas with high traffic volume the share of cars in pollutant emissions is much higher. For example, in Warsaw, road transport is responsible for 40% of PM10 emissions, 20% of PM2.5 emissions and 15% of benzo(a)pyrene emissions.

Smog types:

  • Los Angeles Smog, photochemical smog, occurs mainly in summer months, in subtropical zones. It consists mainly of the following gases: carbon oxides, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons. Kraków and Warsaw, cities with intensive road transport have the highest pollution of this type of smog.
  • London smog usually occurs during the heating season (between October and March), when the concentrations of harmful dusts is the highest. Temperature inversion is responsible for this smog. This is an atmospheric phenomenon in which the air temperature rises with the altitude.

Hazards associated with smog:

  • Smog increases mortality: according to research in Silesian Voivodship, during smog, when pollution standards are exceeded, total mortality increases by about 6 %, and due to cardiovascular causes by 8 %.
  • When breathing polluted air, we breathe in the same harmful substances as those contained in cigarette smoke.
  • In healthy people, even short-term contact with smog can cause inflammation, conjunctival, larynx and trachea irritation, mild, transient lung inflammation, fatigue, reduced tolerance to effort.
  • Many years of contact with air pollution can lead to the development of malignant tumours, such as lung cancer, sinus cancer, cancer of the oral cavity, throat and larynx as well as oesophagus, kidney cancer.
  • Moreover, smog contributes to faster aging of the nervous system and even increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
  • Substances contained in smog are compounds that can cause fertility problems, allergies and liver disorders.


Not only companies or public authorities have an impact on reducing pollutant emissions. Each of us can make the air around us cleaner every day.

Transport is responsible for 1/3 of the world’s CO2 emissions. Don’t use a car if you don’t have to. Choose public transport, cycling or walking. If you need to drive a car, make sure that the air-pressure in tyres is adequate. It can reduce fuel consumption by up to 3%. Every 4 litres of fuel saved is 10 kg less of CO2 produced.

Turn off the light when it’s not necessary and make the most of natural light. Clean windows, lampshades and light bulbs save up to 60% of energy. Turn off the stand-by button. It is the most insidious electricity consumption. Standby power ranges from 0.5W to 35W. Turning it off is 75.4 kg less CO2 per year for each household.

Use reusable bags instead of plastic bags – that’s up to 8 kg less CO2 per year.

How to counteract low emissions? By installing ecological heating. Do not burn leaves in the garden, do not burn plastic bottles and waste paper, store them selectively instead – they constitute secondary raw material!