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Will we set children’s health on fire? Doctors are worried about the upcoming heating season

Fot. Sharomka/Shutterstock

Air pollution this winter may reach levels not seen in years – all due to the lack of fuel availability, which is heating millions of homes in Poland. There is a risk that polish stoves will end up with anything that can burn – from tires to plastic. Doctors and scientists are sounding the alarm about the dangers of breathing in toxic air that will affect our health and cause many premature deaths.

Sharumka/Shutterstock’s photo

The war in Ukraine, the highest inflation in 25 years, and the suspension of the import of energy resources from Russia – greatly affected the wealth of millions of Polish women and residents. Coal prices have risen, up to five times, and in many places this fuel has been unavailable for a long time. This situation made many Polish families anxiously look at the coming winter. The government, fearing the energy crisis and citizens’ protests, among other things, proposed the so-called coal allowance – co-financing for the purchase of this fuel, and also abolished the established quality standards for coal in order to protect health. In some areas, abandoning existing regulations for anti-smog decisions is being considered. This makes the air pollution problem come back.
The coal that will be delivered to individual consumers will be of terrible quality, which will significantly worsen the air condition in the upcoming heating season. The situation is so bad that the current authorities are considering collecting firewood or searching in piles that put Poland at the tail of the “Third World”. If the soot smoking history is not tampered with, the population will exchange a large number of “soot” on a national scale for gas boilers or heat pumps, reducing demand for coal and thus alleviating the crisis. Even replacing “kopciuchów” with modern coal boilers would reduce the demand for coal, because they use less fuel – the professor comments. Doctor Hebb. M. Piotr Kleczkowski from AGH.

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According to HEAL Polska, politicians are trying to convince people that the type of fuel that goes into the furnace does not matter.

Our society’s awareness of the quality of the air we breathe has remained very low for a very long time. The diseases of civilization resulting from this situation are very widespread and the statistics in this regard are terrifying. As someone from an area that ranks first in the infamous air pollution ranking, I am furious. Because I suffer from health consequences that I and my relatives suffer from. I think everything we can should do to protect our children from this. Next winter will prove how lightly the topic has been taken so far – comments by Elżbieta Lemańska-Błażowska from Fathers for Climate.

There is no shortage of research documenting the disastrous impact of smog on health, and in recent decades it has also been conducted by Polish researchers. late a. Wiesław Jędrychowski from Krakow demonstrated that babies whose mothers lived during pregnancy in highly polluted areas gave birth to smaller babies with smaller birth circumferences, and the team led by Dr. Particles and the incidence of brain tumors in children. a. Ewa Czarnobilska, professor at Jagiellonian University, an allergist and pediatrician, documents the broad impact of air pollution on the occurrence of allergies, also in young children.

We are at a time when we need rational decisions and policies based on the recommendations of scientists that will not only help people in Poland survive the winter, but also protect their health and future generations from smog, energy crisis and economic crisis. Such activities, which environmental organizations have called for a long time, are at hand. Many of them can be implemented before next winter, and some will require mobilization and diligent work in the coming years. However, it is crucial that the efforts we have already made – adopt anti-smog decisions in most Polish provinces – not be wasted and that we do not go back to the situation from which we were recovering. For this to happen, the voice of the scientific community, including health experts, must be visible and serve as a basis for policy development.

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When it comes to the impact of smog on health, we must listen to doctors and scientists – they are the people who are best able to predict the level of pollution, diagnose how it can affect us, and help us protect ourselves from health consequences. From the heavily polluted air – which is what we unfortunately expect this winter in Poland – comments Weronika Michalak of HEAL Polska., Healing Polska

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