Wrocław was the most polluted city in the world over the last weekend. At the same time, the capital of Lower Silesia celebrated its enormous success – receiving the title of European Best Destination 2018. Simultaneously, Wrocław is trying to win another prestigious title – the title of the Green Capital of Europe.
Last weekend – according to information provided by the Lower Silesian Smog Alert, the standards of poisonous PM 2.5 dust were exceeded several times reaching record levels. A week ago on Friday – according to the AirVisual portal data – Wrocław was the most polluted city in the world.
This reputation Wroclaw also won last Saturday, when the air was more dangerous and polluted there than in Beijing or even in the capital of Vietnam, famous for the smog Hanoi. Standards were exceeded by 800 percent. Last Sunday was a bit better in this respect. Norms were then exceeded “only” by 200 percent. and the capital of Lower Silesia lost its leading position.
It is strange that at exactly the same time Wroclaw won in a different category. The city won almost unquestionably in the international European Best Destination 2018 competition, receiving the result of over 41 thousand votes and leaving Italian Milan or Spanish Bilbao behind.
The thing is, however, that the competition organized by an international organization dealing with the promotion of culture and tourism on the continent can be won by the voices of the Internet users involved.
However, it is much harder to solve the problem of a smog poisoning the city’s residents. Of course, the title as a reason for pride, but it is absolutely curious that the awarded tourist destination is the city with the highest air pollution recorded worldwide.
In view of the above, the critics of the city’s struggle with smog point to the authorities’ too modest expenditures for this purpose and too much commitment to winning further awards (including obtaining the title of European Green Capital 2019 – eventually the city dropped out of this competition) and events like the European Capital of Culture or last year’s World Games, while not only tourists, but above all, city dwellers struggle with the effects of ubiquitous smog everyday.
As the local media informs, the problem is and becomes so serious that the city also comes up with the ideas of re-consolidating the heating network. This would increase the number of new connections. As calculated by the association of the Greens, if there is no significant acceleration in this area, the last old fashioned, poor quality furnace will stop working in Wroclaw in 500 years !!!
The concept, however, did not meet with the understanding of the Wroclaw authorities, which are satisfied with the cooperation with the private owner of the network – Fortum. Although in recent years the operator connected an average of only 8 old tenement houses a year.
So, as you can see, solving the problem of huge air pollution over the metropolis will undoubtedly last for years and will require not only significant, if not massive expenditures, but above all a comprehensive concept of solutions implemented by city authorities in the fight against smog, including urban/suburban transport infrastructure and heating system, energy, access to clean energy sources, etc.