Prague working on smog plan

New regulations should take effect next winter

The final draft of a regulatory plan for smog in Prague should be finished Aug. 31 and should take effect Jan. 31, 2018. A smog situation was declared in Prague on Tuesday again for the third time this year.

The plan, which was discussed in City Hall's Transportation Committee, should address transportation, as well as stationary sources such as large companies. City Councilor Jana Plamínková (STAN/Trojkoalice) said the deadline was short but the plan should be ready.

Prague wants to examine the procedures used in other European cities and choose the appropriate measures to use locally. A special working group by April should map out where regulations should be imposed and a final draft should be ready by September. The Technical Communications Management (TSK) and Prague Public Transit (DPP) will cooperate on the project. Plamínková said the goal was to cause the least inconvenience to the public.

Opposition parties agree on the need for action. Councilor Filip Humplík (ODS) called for a quick development and introduction of a regulatory plan so smog could be controlled next winter. Free transportation during smog situations is one option being considered to reduce pollution from traffic.

The last city rules concerning smog were passed in 2012, but are no longer valid. They were concerned mainly with traffic, while other sources of airborne particles are also important.

Prague declared a smog alert Tuesday and has not ruled out a second stage alert when regulations come into effect to limit some industries.

A smog situation is announced if at least half of the monitoring stations find 100 micrograms of harmful particles per cubic meter for 12 hours, and no decline is foreseen in he next 24 hours.

The regulation limiting some industry takes effect if at least half of the stations in a region over 12 hours show average concentrations of airborne particles exceeding a limit of 150 micrograms per cubic meter, and the situation is not expected to change for 24 hours.

The current smog situation is caused by cold temperatures, inversion and lack of wind. A temperature inversion is an increase in temperature with height, which creates an inversion layer. An inversion can lead to pollution being trapped close to the ground.

People in the affected areas should take some precautions, especially people with chronic respiratory conditions, heart disease, the elderly and young children. People should avoid physical stress associated with rapid respiratory rate.

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