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Our pollution monitor again registering severe air pollution in Brno these days. Please limit your activities outside. The pollution of PM2.5 is about 5 times exceed WHO recommendation limit.

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Pic.2 ISKO data


Severe air pollution in Czech Republic
Air pollution in Brno - view from Velka Klajdovka, photo by Aleksei Tertychnyi

Danish environmental expert Kaare Press-Kristensen examined the air in Brno. And the result surprised him. In no other European city he measured such high levels of airborne dust as in Brno's Úvoz. 

Once the traffic i feel it is bad. In Brno it is bad in many places. "First we drove a car, which we knew from the view that it will be miserable. Then we smelled and in a moment showed the device extremely high value," describes Miroslav Šuta from the Health and Environment Center, what looked like measurement Kaare Press-Kristensen.

It was Šuta who invited the Danish expert. It is able to quantify the amount of ultrafine dust particles that are not normally measured by weather stations. Dan's special device also captures dust of 10 nanometers, which is generated in cities mainly in the internal combustion engines of diesel cars. The device evaluates the dust values ​​every second.

Press-Kristensen measured air at several locations in the center of Brno. The amount of dust particles and its surprise. He wants to make detailed results available to the Brno Municipality within two months at the latest. What the city will do, but it is not very clear. According to the City Council spokesman Pavel Žára, the city did not know about the measurements, nor does it know how to deal with the results.

Cancer, blood vessels. Even glaciers
Ultrafine dust poses a great risk to human health. Unlike larger dust particles, it is not detected by the respiratory system. "The particles are able to penetrate the blood, where they damage the walls of the blood vessels and lead to serious diseases," warned Šuta, who is originally a doctor.

Thus, the particles contribute to a greater incidence of vascular, cardiovascular and tumor diseases. In addition to its health impacts, Šuta also reminds us of its environmental impact. The carbon particles can last up to ten days in the atmosphere, and in the meantime they can travel all the way to the Arctic, where, according to research, they contribute to melting glaciers.

Although the measured values ​​are alarming, Brno does nothing with them. It doesn't have to. There are no binding limits for such fine dust, but the World Health Organization is currently considering introducing them.

However, the Czech Republic does not respect the current recommendations for fine dust. "If the amount of fine dust in Denmark exceeds 30,000 particles per cubic meter, the Danish authorities will do something about it," Šuta says.

 Brno also has a problem with coarse airborne dust. The daily allowable limit is fifty micrograms per cubic meter and cities may exceed this limit thirty-five times a year. They measured higher values ​​at the Svatoplukova station in Brno already in nineteen days, at Zvonařka fifteen times. Last year, Brno exceeded the limits seventy times.

The dust situation is a priority according to the city's air quality improvement program, commissioned by the municipality in 2012. "I observe the deterioration of respiratory diseases, rhinitis, etc. with my almost two-year-old daughter," confirms Soňa Homolka, who in Brno lives. After living in Boskovice for two years. And he says that there is a difference between the local and Brno air. "In the worst days, you can feel it," adds Homolka.

Municipality: dust is a priority. But...
Currently, Brno is trying to improve air quality by planting greenery and continuing construction of a large city circuit in Žabovřesky, which should relieve the concentration of traffic in the center. However, this is criticized by Hana Chalupská of the Dejchej Brno association, who claims that the planned buildings will not facilitate traffic, but will bring it to the center.

Solution: Emission zones or filters
Transport is perceived by the municipality as the greatest polluter. "However, it is difficult to prevent increased traffic, Brno is a catchment town," said spokesman Pavel Zara.

The mothers who make up the Dejchej Brno association have long been interested in the air in Brno. Last year, for example, they blocked the road to Úvoz to alert the state of the air. Dejchej Brno presents on its website possibilities how to help the air.

One of them is the introduction of low-emission zones, which have been considered by cities throughout the Czech Republic for several years. Emission zones that allow municipalities to set up government regulations are designed to prevent older cars from entering specific areas. Drivers who want to drive through the low-emission zone must meet the limits of their car and have an environmental plaque affixed to the glass to prove it.

They are considering establishing such zones, for example in Prague or Klimkovice near Ostrava. The amount of dust particles would greatly reduce the dust filters of cars and buses. The fleet of the Brno Public Transport Company has 303 buses, but the filter has only ten minibuses and three test buses.

The company plans to buy new buses with a built-in dust filter next year. "In the middle of this year, we will also put into operation the first 12 buses for compressed natural gas;

Three years ago, Brno was able to obtain a grant from Switzerland just for bus filters. But the councilors refused him. "I consider the effect of such a measure to be scarce and there is no need to throw money at it," said Deputy Mayor of Brno Ladislav Macek.

Run to the park instead
What with this? Stay at home and not open windows? Hardly. Despite the busy and dusty streets, at least high parks in Brno are spared. In Lužánky and Špilberk, Press-Kristensen measured the lowest values ​​in Brno at a distance of fifty meters from the road.

If you are looking for a place in Brno where it is healthiest to go with a carriage or run, then head here. "I am not very pleased that we have to go around large traffic arteries, there should be more parks in the center," comments Homolka.

According to Šutová, the research could return to Brno. Measurement in public transport is also being considered, where there is also a risk of higher dust levels.


  At the end of 2014, reporters from the reputable Czech weekly newspaper Tyden made up the “top 10” of the most risky settlements in the Czech Republic from the point of view of environmental safety. The reason for this was the explosions in military depots of ammunition that took place near the village of Vrbice, Zlin region. Although no one was directly injured, the residents of this and neighboring villages were forced to evacuate several times, of course, the number of people wishing to move to this village fell sharply.
The village of Vrbetice (Zlín region) was not included in the list, instead of it, under No. 10, the largest ammunition depot (Hradec Králové region) appears. However, knowledge of other ecologically hot spots will not hurt. Those who have already been born or work there, somehow can live with this health risk, but why choose a property in this place voluntarily? It is better to know the names of these settlements and try to stay away from them.
1. Neratovice near Prague. The Spolana Chemical Plant located here poisoned everything around with mercury. Mercury is located in the Labe River, in the fish living in it, in the bark of trees ... Another problem of the plant is dioxins. In 2013, the Neratovice plant released 36 tons of potentially carcinogenic substances into the air. In the integrated register of environmental pollutants "Spolana" takes first place!
During the great flood of 2002, the plant was flooded, a huge amount of toxic substances fell into the water and soil. Analysis of the spring of 2003 (ie, about a year after the flood) showed that the dioxin content in one of the Labe branches near the “Spolana” exceeded their natural existence in nature by 30-500 (!) Times. Residents of Neratovice were then banned from consuming food products of their own production.
2. Usti nad Labem. In principle, the entire course of the Labe from Prague almost to the border with Germany is a continuous chemistry. But here, next to Neratovice, for example, the city of Usti nad Labem stands out, where the Spolkhimie plant, which produces chlorine, is located almost in the center of the city. In this production, the so-called "Amalgam electrolysis" based on the use of mercury. In 2013, the plant released 677 kg into the air. mercury and its compounds. So mercury and chlorine are a great combination! In an attempt in the recent past to remove mercury-poisonous soil from the territory of the plant, it turned out that it would have to dig 20 m in depth.
Hexachlorobenzene is one of the by-products of production in Usti. About 500 kg of it will leave the factory on Wednesday. This substance has the property of cumulating in the tissues and is almost not excreted naturally.
In addition to the chemical industry, the near brown coal-fired power plants such as Pocheradov, Pruněržov, Tušimice have a significant influence on Usti nad Labem and the entire surrounding region.

3. Ostrava. Oddly enough, the Ostrava industrial agglomeration (which - apart from Ostrava itself - includes, for example, Karvina or Frydek-Mistek) takes “only” third place in our list. In addition to the high concentration of heavy industry (coal mining and metallurgy), dense transport and, not least, heating of many houses with boilers for burning solid fuel (that is, in fact, not only coal and wood, but also everything that burns) transform this area into a real gas chamber. The main problem is dust in the air, the norm of its air content is exceeded regularly, and more than 100 times a year. In addition to dust (and stink), enterprises emit carcinogenic benzapyrenes into the air. Of the 10 places with the highest concentration of benzopyrene installed, 6 are in the Ostrava region, the permitted limit is exceeded several times.
The “cherry on the cake” of the Ostrava environmental disaster is the oil lagoons - the legacy of the Ostramo refinery. There is no factory, but there are still 300 thousand tons of oil mud in the region, the rehabilitation of which will last until 2018. All this - a kilometer from the residential neighborhood.
4. Stráž pod Ralskem. Here, under socialism, uranium was mined. With the use of sulfuric acid. About 4 million liters of acid were pumped underground in an area of ​​about 24 square meters. km .. It is estimated that about 370 million cubic meters of groundwater in this area is poisoned by acid. Remediation will last until 2050. Moreover, if no one has any illusions about Ostrava, then in this case the surrounding places are quite attractive for tourists: nearby Makhovo Lake, Czech Paradise National Park, Kokorzynsko Nature Reserve, etc.
5. Lovosice. We are again returning to the north of the Czech Republic, to the picturesque bank of the Labe River, near which the city of Lovosice stands, and in it - the largest production of mineral fertilizers in the Czech Republic. The main problem here is the leak of ammonia. From the point of view of environmental pollution, this plant officially (2013 data) is the second in the Czech Republic (after the Neratovitsa Spolany). However, the main risk is not so much smoke and stench as the danger of an accident. When an explosion occurred at a similar plant in Texas in 2012, 14 people died and and hundreds were injured.
6. Jihlava. The largest city in the Vysocina region, halfway between Prague and Brno, is also famous for the fact that it houses one of the largest manufacturers of particleboard in Europe. In 2012, the plant released 22 tons of formaldehyde into the atmosphere, it is difficult to imagine something more toxic. Inhalation of formaldehyde leads not only to cancer tumors, but also to diseases such as eczema, chronic inflammation of the middle ear, etc. There is no need to talk about the stench and irritation of the eye mucosa. True, at the end of 2013, the plant installed some new filters and promises a significant improvement in the situation.
7. Temelin. A nuclear power plant was built relatively recently in picturesque places in Southern Bohemia (the first unit was launched in 2002), and due to massive protests by the Austrian public fearing Chernobyl and Fukushima near its borders, it was built (supposedly) with maximum safety standards. So, the reactor accident, most likely, does not directly threaten. However, as it recently turned out, a carefully guarded object could be threatened by an ordinary drone. And no one will argue that this is a strategic objective and a possible target of the attack. In addition, at Temelin quite often some minor accidents and private shutdowns of individual units occur. In short, a nuclear power plant is a risk. It is strange only that the other Czech nuclear power plant, Dukovany, was not on the list, it is an older one.
8. Pardubice. The whole world knows what semtex is. They make the famous explosives at the Explosia factory, which is ... - right, in the city of Pardubice. A city with a hundred thousandth population - besides this - is known for its gingerbread cookies and horse racing. However, back to the semtex explosives. As you know, explosives are created in order to explode, and from time to time (not very often, but still) this happens right on the territory of the plant. The last time in April 2011, 4 workers were killed, part of the plant was destroyed. At the same time, the windows were broken not only in Pardubice, but also in the town of Lazne Bogdaneč (4 km from Pardubice). The previous explosion occurred 30 years before the events described, then there were 5 victims, and buildings in the city of Chrudim, 20 km away, were damaged. Particular piquancy to the risk of an accident at the plant for the production of semtex is given by the fact that in the immediate vicinity of it is the chemical plant "Synthesis". Both plants, of course, have their own landfills, where, according to rough estimates, more than a million tons of toxic materials are stored.
9. Hnevice. Everything that was said above is more or less well known. It is less known that near Prague near the village of Hnevice in Central Bohemia there is the largest storage of fuels and lubricants in the country with a capacity of 300 thousand cubic meters of gasoline and diesel fuel. This is one hundred reservoirs on an area of ​​268 hectares, mainly underground. True, the explosions here took place only twice - in 1945 and in 1952, but also stroll through the forest with the thought that under your feet there are huge fuel supplies, not the most pleasant form of relaxation. It's funny that the popular name of the village - Petrol - has already hit the official maps.
10. Tyniste nad Orlici. Here is the largest ammunition depot in the country, according to some sources, two-thirds of the army’s reserves are stored on it. After the recent explosions in a similar (significantly smaller and not under the jurisdiction of the army, but private firms selling military materials) warehouse in the village. In Vrbice, public interest in such objects and the fear of neighbors are understandable. It should be noted, however, that over the 50 years of the existence of this complex, no troubles have occurred here. However, it does not follow from this that nothing will happen in the future.



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