Environmental Impacts of Long-Term Air Pollution Changes in Kraków, Poland
A. Bokwa
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Institute of Geography and Spatial Management, Jagiellonian University, 7 Gronostajowa St., 30-387 Kraków, Poland
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2008;17(5):673–686
Annual concentrations of SO2 and PM have decreased in Kraków since the early 1970s by 70-80%. At present, both pollutants still show the same seasonal pattern as in the 1970s, with maximum in winter and minimum in summer. PM10 is the most abundant air pollutant reaching permanently the levels far behind the allowed values. Since 2001, an increasing concentration trend has been observed, while the concentrations of SO2 usually stay below the allowed limits. The concentrations of NO2 and O3 have been measured since 1992. The allowed values of NO2 are exceeded only in the high-traffic site (about 10 times per year) while the levels of O3 are usually within the allowed limits. Studies concerning plant and animal contamination with heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Fe, Zn, Cu) show that cadmium is at present the main danger. In spite of a significant improvement of aerosanitary conditions in Kraków after 1990, negative long-term effects of air pollution on human health can be still observed, especially in children.