A new initiative that aims to improve air quality in the Polish capital of Warsaw has been launched.
‘Breathe Warsaw’, a partnership between the City of Warsaw, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Clean Air Fund, will provide technical assistance and capacity building to support the deployment of policies to improve air quality and benefit climate and health.
The initiative will strengthen and leverage air quality data to inform policies and better understand sources of pollution in the city.
Statistics suggest more than 400,000 people in the EU die prematurely every year due to the impacts of air pollution and currently, air quality in Warsaw exceeds both the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and EU pollution limits.
If Warsaw met WHO guidelines, it is estimated around 1,500 deaths could be prevented annually.
Breathe Warsaw supports the EU’s ambition to reduce the number of premature deaths by 55% by 2030, as outlined in its Zero Pollution Action Plan.
Rafał Trzaskowski, Mayor of Warsaw said: “Warsaw is not afraid to face its challenges and the fight against air pollution is definitely one of them.
“Today we are joining an ambitious project that will strengthen our current efforts to improve air quality in the city, to fight climate change and improve the health of our citizens. Ambitious goals require specific, professional actions. That is why today we start a partnership with entities who are experts in improving air quality.”
Warsaw has a new network of air quality sensors in 165 locations – Breathe Warsaw will use this and its data to develop a “comprehensive” air quality database to better understand pollution sources and inform data-driven interventions.
The initiative will also provide technical and policy research support to deliver an ambitious low emission zone by 2024 and apply air quality data to inform decision-making and regulation to accelerate the phase out of coal heating.
In addition, it will connect local leaders and organisations in Warsaw to exchange knowledge and best practices with other cities to advance clean air action in the region and globally as well as mobilise local partners for awareness and educational campaigns to support clean air action.
Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions and Founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies added: “Action on air pollution helps people live better, longer and healthier lives. It also helps tackle climate change since the biggest sources of carbon emissions and air pollution are often the same. More cities are waking up to the dual threat air pollution poses to public health and the health of our climate and by taking bold steps forward, they can inspire others to follow.
“This partnership will help strengthen the health of all Warsaw residents and I want to thank Mayor Trzaskowski for his leadership and partnership.”