From November 2020 the Prague authorities are planning to ban the burning of coal, briquettes and coke in old stoves and boilers with a view to improving the capital’s poor air quality, the Czech News Agency reported on Monday.
Councillors have approved the move, which would concern stoves and boilers in the lowest (and most harmful) two of five emissions categories. However, the change must still be approved by a broader local authority body.
Boilers in the two lowest emissions categories have been banned from sale since 2014. Their usage will be completely prohibited throughout the entire country from 2022.
The Prague authorities estimate that there are hundreds of households in the capital still employing outmoded heating systems.
People can receive European Union financial support to exchange their ancient, substandard boilers until the start of next year.
According to the Prague authorities’ own data, over two-thirds of the capital’s territory suffers from air pollutants that are above mandated limits.
The most common substances that negatively impact Praguers’ health are benzo[a]pyrene, nitrogen dioxide and small, PM10 dust particles.
The worst single polluter in the capital is transport. However, solid fuel combustion in households produces more than 90 percent of benzo[a]pyrene emissions, according to City Hall.
This can be deduced from the fact that the situation is worst in areas where local heating predominates.
Air quality is unsurprisingly at its lowest in the winter months, especially in the January to March period.
The Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute declares smog alerts at that time of year quite frequently.
Under the freshly approved edict, households will be barred from using heat sources other than their main heat source during smog alerts.
In a bid to combat air pollution, councilors recently approved the introduction of free public transport during smog alerts with a view to motivating people to use public transport instead of their cars.
Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček is in charge of the environment. He said last week that the city also wanted to introduce a toll on cars using certain roads in Prague within five years.
However, other representatives of the coalition that governs the city poured a little cold water on this statement, saying that it was essential to first complete Prague’s outer ring road, and perhaps its inner ring road also.
Representatives of the Central Bohemian Region and the minister of transport, Vladimír Kremlík, also criticised the plan.
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