Civil Society Struggle For Clean Air

Central Eastern Europe for years has recorded the worst air quality on the continent leading to protests from all parts of society

22 December 2021

Michał Zabłocki

Climate and Democracy Editor

What is in the air of democratic struggle against smog?

Every winter the air quality charts note dangerous exceedances of pollutants harmful to human health. The EU already started infringement procedures on air pollution against Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary. While the residents of Prague, Bratislava, Budapest and Bucharest won the legal cases on air quality breaches in the national courts.

Sitting on a bench at Normafa Hill in Budapest you can see an ever-growing thick impassable cloud above the city. It’s hard to believe, but most of the low-lying parts of the Hungarian capital drown in smog. 

On a clear day, there’s no problem with observing the Országház (Parliament) or the Vár (Castle) as well as the glimmering waters of the Danube from above. But once the Summer ends, the view fades out to grey. 

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Michał Zabłocki

Climate and Democracy Editor

Michal is Climate and Democracy Editor and former Marcin Król Fellow at Visegrad Insight. He’s an active Freelance journalist, and climate activist as well as a communications and policy consultant, too. In the past, he was a foreign correspondent for the Polish Press Agency in Moscow, Prague and Bratislava, Newsroom Editor and a long-standing Staff Writer at PAP Foreign Desk, PAP English language newswire Market Insider and PAP Domestic Desk, where he covered climate and environment. He mainly focuses on politics, economy, climate and energy in Poland and Central Eastern Europe. He's also the author of a non-fiction book "To nie jest raj. Szkice o współczesnych Czechach" ("It's not paradise. Essays on contemporary Czechia"), published in 2019 in Poland and 2020 in Czech Republic.

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