Legnica, Poland, January 1, 2018: Almost 6,000 children will now be breathing easier as the new year has brought with it the permanent closure of the Adamów lignite power plant in Poland. Adamów is the 13th most toxic coal plant in Europe in terms of health impact. Its pollution is absorbed by the lungs and circulatory systems of people throughout Poland and beyond, at huge cost to their health and quality of life, as well as the public purse.
Adamów caused an estimated 5,989 asthma attacks in children each year, which equates to almost every child born in Poznań - the capital of the Wielkopolska region, where the plant is located - in 2016. (1) Every zloty of income for its owner, ZE PAK S.A., costs 25 zlotys in health losses - up to 767 million per year. (2)
Kuba Gogolewski, financial campaigner with Fundacja “Rozwój TAK - Odkrywki NIE” said: “ZE PAK keeps betting on lignite for short term profit at the expense of the health of workers and communities. The closure of Adamów is a relief for many people suffering from its pollution, but the company cannot be let off the hook clean up costs, and it cannot be allowed to do more damage with new mines. A growing number of banks and institutional investors are divesting from coal companies such as ZE PAK as they see there is no future for coal. Now is the time for ZE PAK to get out of, not double down on lignite.”
Magda Bartecka, climate and energy program coordinator in Polish Green Network said: “Exceptionally low unemployment levels and rising wages are promising a soft landing for the 330 workers at the Adamów power plant and lignite mine, but they need support to find these good quality, stable, and healthy jobs. The situation is very different to when coal mines were closing in 90’s, but both regional and national authorities have a responsibility to they help connect workers with these new opportunities and ensure a just transition takes place.”
Kathrin Gutmann, Campaign Director, Europe Beyond Coal said: “While the Polish Government continues to support coal, the closure of Adamów shows that it cannot escape the reality that Europe is rapidly moving beyond it. “This is also a big relief for Polish people and citizens in nearby countries suffering from the air pollution produced by these extremely dirty lignite coal plants. The Polish government cannot outrun the health problems coal creates or its dire economics.”
Mateusz Jaworski, Communications Officer, Fundacja “Rozwój TAK - Odkrywki NIE”
Greg McNevin, Communications Director, Europe Beyond Coal
Kathrin Gutmann, Campaign Director, Europe Beyond Coal (German, English)
SOx: 13305,492 tonnes
NOx: 7471,183 tonnes
Dust (PM10): 2082,337 tonnes
Health impact (modelled):
Premature deaths: 277
Chronic bronchitis (adults only): 136
Hospital admissions: 185
Lost working days: 77,966
Asthma attacks in children: 5,989
Health costs, median: 406 million EUR
Health costs, high: 767 million EUR
3) ZE PAK is the last remaining private utility in Poland, and one of the most undiversified: more than 95% of energy produced and sold by ZE PAK comes from lignite burning. The company is pursuing new mines while receiving hefty subsidies from the State.
Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu
The Foundation "Development YES – Open-Pit Mines NO" is the formal and legal representation of the Polish National Coalition „Development YES – Open-pit mines NO" – a civil society grassroots movement to prevent plans to build new lignite open-pit mines and supporting the transformation of the Polish economy - from the one based on fossil fuels to a resource-efficient and new renewables-based one. http://rozwojtak-odkrywkinie.pl/index.php/en/
Polish Green Network is a civil society organisation and the largest Polish alliance of regional environmental organisations. Since 1995 it has been acting for environmental protection and sustainable development in Europe and Global South countries.