Environmental policy delivered measurable benefits for the environment, economy and human well-being but there are many challenges still ahead of us – it is one of the conclusions presented by Jock Martin, Head of Programme on Integrated Environmental Assessments, European Environment Agency, during the seminar – national launch of the EEA report “The European Environment 2015. State and Outlook” (SOER 2015).
The seminar was organized on the 2nd of June 2015 by the Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection (CIEP) in the headquarters of the Ministry of Environment and CIEP. The seminar is one of the activities promoting SOER 2015 in Poland, held by CIEP.
The event was attended by around a hundred people representing public administration on national and regional level as well as scientific and research institutes. Due to the cross-cutting agenda the audience consisted of experts in diverse areas like environment, health, economy, agriculture, finance, infrastructure, tourism and sport.
The seminar was opened by Mr Jerzy Kuliński, Chief Inspector of Environmental Protection, and Ms Anna Katarzyna Wiech, Head of the Department of Monitoring and Environmental Information in the CIEP, and was chaired by Ms Małgorzata Bednarek, National Focal Point for cooperation with the EEA within EIONET, DMEI CIEP.
The agenda was divided into three thematic sessions, covering presentations as well as questions and discussion. The first session, the cross-cutting one, was opened by Mr J. Martin, EEA, presenting the main outputs of the SOER 2015 report. He drew attention to the fact that answering the environmental challenges facing Europe and achieving the living well within the limits of the planet vision by 2050, would require fundamental systemic changes, inter alia in production and consumption processes, and a higher level of ambition. More information on the report is available on our website here. Next, Mr Krzysztof Skotak, Head of Environmental Monitoring Division in the National Institute of Public Health - National Institute of Hygiene, presented information on the environmental quality impacts on the human health and well-being in Poland. The risks connected with extreme weather events and vector diseases related to climate change, particulate matter pollution, chemicals in drinking water and wind turbines were mentioned. Under the last presentation in this session Ms Barbara Albiniak, DMEI CIEP, presented key problems identified in the national state of environment report, published by CIEP in 2014, emphasizing the air and water quality as well as noise exposure issues.
The second session, on air quality, began with a presentation of Mr Martin Adams, Head of group on air pollution, transport and noise, EEA. It was emphasized, that although Europe has great successes in the reduction of emissions, air pollution is still responsible for more than 400 000 premature deaths in Europe each year. Following Mr Adams, Ms Barbara Toczko, Head of the Air and Noise Monitoring Division, DMEI CIEP, presented the system of air quality monitoring in Poland and the results for 2014. It was stressed that main problems with air quality in Poland were related with high level concentrations of PM10, PM2.5 and benzo(a)pyrene caused by high emissions of these pollutants and its precursors from combustion processes, particularly in the households and local thermal power stations and caused by transport sector. Ms Kinga Majewska, Head of the Atmosphere Protection Division, Department of Air Protection in the Ministry of Environment, presented the state of work on the National Air Protection Programme to be adopted by July 2015. The NAPP includes many strategic actions (partnership for the improvement of air quality), legislative actions (amendment to the Act - Environmental Protection Law and some other acts concerning quality of fuels) and information activities (national campaign “Clean Air”).
The last session was dedicated to the efficient resource management. Mr Paweł Kaźmierczyk, project manager for material flows, EEA, emphasized that just improving the resource management efficiency was not a guarantee for environmental pressures reduction as the changes in the efficiency were strongly related with economic situation. In a long term perspective the level of the dependence of Europe on the import of some minerals from one source can be worrying. The examples of national activities for green, low-carbon economy, were shown by the representatives of the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Economy. Ms Małgorzata Sołtan, Department of Sustainable Development, MEnv, presented Polish National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change 2020 with the view 2030 and Urban Adaptation Plan, as well as initiatives for supporting green investments financed by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management. Mr Jarosław Klonowski, Department of Innovation and Industry, MEc, focused on the National Programme for Development of Low-Emission Economy and most promising areas for transformation: buildings, energy sector, transport and agriculture.
In the final conclusions Mr Jock Martin, EEA, stressed the need for a long term perspective approach when dealing with environmental and economic problems, and emphasized the role the citizens can play in shaping the future world. He also draw attention to the uniqueness of the EIONET model cooperation of the countries with the EEA. To summarize the seminar Ms A.K. Wiech, CIEP, stressed that we should value the successes achieved, continue the work to solve the problems and remember that results of our activities would affect our children who should have been already sensitized by us to environmental issues.