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Trilateral workshop on air quality

06. 06. 2023 Ovzdušie

As part of our Populair project, we actively maintain relations with international partners, which was also reflected in the recently organized Trilateral Workshop in Piešťany, which took place on May 17-19, 2023. At this event, we welcomed the foreign projects HungAIRy from Hungary and Malopolska - In a healthy atmosphere from Poland, which, like us, deal with the issue of air quality.

Picture of the participants at the workshop
Source: LIFE Populair

HungAIRy is an 8-year project financially supported by the LIFE program. The ambition of the HUNGAIRY project is to improve the unfavorable air quality in 10 Hungarian municipalities in 8 regions of the country. Their specific objectives are:

• Improvement of effective air quality management and implementation of Air Quality Management Plans

• Supporting measures related to air quality and raising awareness about the importance of this topic

• Improving regional and local air quality monitoring and reporting

The main activities of the project should contribute to the fulfillment of these goals, which include the installation of new air quality monitoring stations, the construction of a network of eco-managers, the promotion of sustainable mobility, the development of an air quality modeling tool for decision support, awareness raising and knowledge transfer, the reduction of emissions produced by households, as well as the application of ecological agricultural technologies.

The Malopolska project, known as the LIFE IP "Implementation of the Air Quality Plan for the Malopolska Region", aims to combat severe air pollution in southern Poland in the Malopolska region. The main source of pollution is outdated domestic solid fuel boilers. The project focuses on the implementation of the Air Quality Plan in Malopolska by removing outdated boilers, modernizing heating systems and improving energy efficiency in buildings. It includes the creation of a network of environmental managers to provide advisory services, the operation of a regional center for training and knowledge sharing, the conduct of information campaigns, the development of pollution modeling tools and the creation of an international air pollutant modeling system. The project aims to reduce emissions, raise awareness and support cooperation between local and international entities.

During the two days of the workshop, various topics were presented and discussed, during which individual projects exchanged experiences and ideas. Topics such as the current state of implementation of individual projects, issues of national and regional legislative regulation of air protection in Slovakia, monitoring and modeling of air quality and financial mechanisms were discussed. The event also included the so-called round tables focused on awareness, air quality management plans, informative monitoring of air quality and examples of good practice.

On the last day of the workshop, the organizers prepared an excursion to the Deposit return system in Kočovce, as an example of good practice implemented in Slovakia. It is a new non-profit organization that creates, finances and coordinates the functioning of the advance system of disposable beverage packaging in Slovakia. The backup system for PET bottles and cans was launched on 01.01.2022 and can be proud of the great results since the beginning. They exceeded the expected return of 60% as they collected 820,000,000 bottles in the first year, which amounts to a 71% return. By 2025, they aim to increase this figure to 90%.

After the introductory lecture, the participants had the opportunity to see directly the process of processing received backed-up packaging from collection points and intermediate warehouses of the Administrator. The sorting center has an optical line that sorts materials by type and color and prepares ready packages of sorted plastic and metal material for recyclers.

Backing up gives a chance to collect higher quality material that can be effectively used in the production of new packaging, thus saving natural resources, reducing the amount of energy used and thus also CO2 emissions. In Slovakia, we can be proud of a functional system that is also an inspiration for other European countries.