Communist-era district heating legacy serving Warsaw well

Poland’s capital city of Warsaw has avoided the problems of air pollution besetting the smaller, yet more tourism-oriented city of Cracow, due largely to a district heating system laid down by the country’s Communist government after World War Two.

The desire of the Communist Party for centrally-planned infrastructure meant the use of an enormous  district heating network, as the city attempted to recover from the devastation wrought by the war.
The Guardian reports that the system, the largest of its kind in Europe, has spared the capital’s 1.6 million population from the pollution that plagues Cracow, ‘where thick black soot wafts from the chimneys of residents who burn coal at home.’

Warsaw's parliament, presidential palace and city’s giant office and apartment blocks all benefit.

“This is one of the few good inheritances from the Communists,” Maciej Bukowski, president of the Warsaw Institute for Economic Studies told the Guardian “When you compare Warsaw to Cracow, it’s quite clean. It’s no different from London or Berlin.”

Modernisation has improved homeowners ability to control their own heating with individual controls installed.

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