We carry on brief reviews about air quality status in different countries. When we are looking at PM 2.5 distribution map over Europe, at the first blush one may observe a very distinct aerosol hotspot in Poland. It should not be surprising since WHO reports have stated that 33 out of 50 cities with highest PM 2.5
concentration in EU are located in Poland. The highest concentrations are found not only in large cities (Krakow, Katowice and Gliwice) but also in small towns (like Zywiec, Pszczyna, Rybnik etc). The consequences of the bad air quality are terrific as European Commission has stated that around 44 500 premature deaths were attributable to fine particulate matter concentrations in 2015.
Maciek Nabrdalik and Marc Santora earlier explained in New York Times article that "the problem is largely a result of the country's love affair with coal". Considering malignant role of coal in the increase of greenhouse
gases it is another signature for policy-makers that boosting carbon-free economy will return not only global benefits (in the form of global climate mitigation), but will also bring immediate outcome in the form of local
air quality improvement.
Unluckily, the improvements are barely visible in the recent years since European Commission has outlined in their last report that "no progress has been made on improving air quality since the 2017".
Source: MODIS, MISR and SeaWiFS Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) with GWR, Authors: van Donkelaar et al, 2016 Data link: https://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/data/set/sdei-global-annual-gwr-pm2-5-modis-misr-seawifs-aod