Climate change is a big challenge both on a global scale, but also on a regional and local scale
Not only the legal requirements concerning the surrounding environment are increasing year by year, but also our own expectations related to its quality. It is important to take action on two levels: adapting to the changes taking place as well as preventing and reducing the effects of these changes. Therefore, the Self-Government of the Wielkopolska Region, out of concern for the health and quality of life of its residents, sets on continuous and responsible civilization development, which at the same time is consistent with the principle of sustainable development - according to the provisions of the Development Strategy of the Wielkopolska Region until 2030.
This document constitutes a map of activities of the Self-Government for the next decade.
It contains an ambitious development vision that combines economic and social goals, while emphasizing the cohesion and sustainable development of the Region. All the actions indicated in the Strategy are focused on respecting the natural environment. The basis for an effective response to the above challenges is the implementation of a well-thought-out policy and actions based on international cooperation and taking initiatives in line with the principles of the European Green Deal.
The European Green Deal clearly indicates how to change the way we live and work, the way we produce and consume, so that we live healthier and our companies remain innovative. One of the most important concepts of this idea is the transition to a closed cycle economy. However, this type of economy can be realized, among others, on the condition of properly functioning waste management. In order to meet these requirements, the Voivodeship to meet these requirements is the Voivodeship Waste Management Plan. The main premise of the adopted by the Sejm of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship is to continue to build a modern, comprehensive and regional waste management system that will allow a rational way of managing all streams of waste produced. However, it should be emphasized that the fulfillment of the municipal waste recycling targets resulting from the Plan, including a radical reduction of the amount of landfilled waste, will not be possible without further development of selective collection at source together with systematic educational activities and the implementation of thermal processing of non-recyclable waste with energy potential as a complementary element of a comprehensive municipal waste management system. An integral part of the document is the Investment Plan, which identifies the municipal waste management infrastructure necessary to achieve the goals set by the Polish law and European Union directives. Local governments face difficult challenges, especially those related to the implementation of effective methods of selective waste collection and effective promotion of the hierarchy of desirable waste handling, on the implementation of which the achievement of the strategic goals will depend.
On the basis of a continuous diagnosis of the current state of the natural environment, an analysis of internal and external factors affecting the further planning of the voivodeship strategy for environmental protection and the climate, an Environmental Protection Program for the Wielkopolska Voivodeship until 2030 has been drawn up. This document constitutes the basis for functioning of the environmental management system on the voivodeship level. The main purpose of drafting and adopting the Program by the Sejmik of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship is the implementation by the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship of an ecological policy consistent with with the guidelines of the most important regional, national and EU strategic documents. The program contains a factual and financial schedule of activities planned until the year 2030: own tasks of the Wielkopolska Voivodeship Self-Government and delegated tasks in the scope of governmental administration as well as monitored tasks carried out by local government units or institutions responsible for the implementation of policy on the protection of the environment and natural resources from the Wielkopolska Voivodeship.
Our strategic actions cover various components of the environment. Annual air quality assessments for the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship show exceedances of standards for: PM10 dust, PM2,5 dust and benzo(a)pyrene (B(a)P). The reasons for such state of matters should be seen in emission from individually heated buildings and small businesses. Further contributing to PM10 and B(a)P exceedances are emissions from transport. At the regional level, important in caring about clean air are developed by the Board of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship, and then adopted by the Sejmik of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship, Air Protection Programs. They indicate the mentioned sources of occurrence of violations of air quality standards and determine the effective and feasible actions, whose implementation should definitely contribute to the improvement of air quality. Remedial measures, the implementation of which was determined by 30 September 2026, include, among others: connection to the district heating network, replacement of old - low-efficiency coal-fired boilers with new ones, thermomodernization of buildings, green planting, wet cleaning streets and environmental education in the broad sense. It should be clearly emphasized, that comparing annual air quality assessments over a cross-section of years one can see, It should be clearly emphasized that comparing annual air quality assessments over a number of years it can be seen that although exceedances are still recorded its quality is improving, thus it is very important to carry out equally intensified actions in this respect.
In 2017, the Sejmik of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship adopted three so-called anti-smog resolutions for Poznań, Kalisz and the rest of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship, which came into force on 1 May 2018 and constitute a strengthening of the measures enshrined in the Air Protection Programs. It should be noted that due to the complexity of the topic, the Board of the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship appointed an interdisciplinary Expert Team for the introduction of restrictions or prohibitions on the operation of installations in which fuels are fuel combustion, which consisted of representatives of local governments, social organizations and the world of science - the so-called anti-smog resolutions. It should be emphasized, that anti-smog resolutions, similarly as air protection programs, are acts of local law. They introduce a number of restrictions and bans on operation of heating installations. New boilers must ensure automatic fuel feeding, high energy efficiency and compliance with emission standards. They also point out the ban on burning fuel of the worst quality such as fine dust, brown coal or flotation concentrate. The experience of public administration bodies shows that legal regulations alone are not enough to achieve the intended results, what is needed is first of all permanent public awareness. Therefore, as part of the activities the education of the society is also undertaken, which is an important element from the point of view of shaping appropriate - pro-ecological attitudes and behaviours of the residents.
Therefore, the Board of the Wielkopolska Region, for many years has been organizing meetings devoted to such topics as air protection. Every year there are training conferences of workshop character on the control of provisions of anti-smog resolutions and the latest legal changes in this area. They are addressed to inhabitants and representatives of self-governments responsible for implementation and execution of corrective measures in this respect, as well as to municipal and communal guards operating in cities and communes. No less important are the activities carried out within the framework of broad information campaigns about the influence of pollution on health and counteracting excessive emission of pollution through radio and TV spots, billboards, posters, and information brochures. The posters and information brochures on the impact of pollution on health are mainly given to local government units for further distribution to local residents.
In 2021. Board of the Wielkopolska Region, as the first in Poland, adopted Climate Neutrality Strategy of Eastern Wielkopolska 2040, which includes as many as five counties: the city of Konin and counties: Konin, Kolsk, Słupsk and Turek. The strategy indicates the direction and policy of changes which will be consistently implemented and realized in the next years. The strategy assumes, among other things, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, development and increase in the use of renewable energy sources and improvement of energy efficiency in order to achieve an earlier balance between greenhouse gas emissions and their absorption in the Konin mining region and thus bring us closer to the ambitious goal of climate neutrality by 2040, i.e. ten years earlier than assumed by the European Union. The climate neutrality strategy is also meant to be a key tool in the decarbonization process, which is a key challenge for the transformation of the energy sector in Eastern Wielkopolska in the context of the fight against global warming and climate change. It involves changing the structure of the energy economy and the energy production process, complete abandonment of lignite mining as well as the abandonment of coal as an energy carrier in the power and heating sectors. In the long run, it is also about using the potential of post-mining areas to develop renewable energy sources: wind farms, photovoltaic farms or sustainable production of biomass.
Self-government of the Wielkopolska Voivodeship significantly contributes to the achievement of zero emission. For this purpose, Wielkopolska Hydrogen Valley was established - an opinion-making and advisory body to the Self-Government of the Wielkopolska Voivodeship on issues of economic policy within the scope of low and zero emission technologies. Wielkopolska Hydrogen Valley, created by the Board of the Wielkopolska Voivodeship, is a multi-dimensional platform of inter-environmental cooperation, i.e. business, science, local governments and non-governmental organizations.
Climate change is also a problem associated with water shortages in the Region, so the Board of the Wielkopolska Region is conducting a campaign to co-finance tasks in the field of environmental protection and water management under the DESZCZÓWKA Program. It is addressed to local governments and their subordinate units from the Wielkopolska Region. Its aim is to promote actions preventing the negative effects of drought through rainwater retention and its proper use for irrigation of green areas and construction of rainwater storage systems with installations allowing its management. It should be emphasized that the effectiveness of the use of funds earmarked for this purpose is high, which is undoubtedly the result of increasing environmental awareness.
In order to promote local initiatives in the field of pro-ecological development strategy of Wielkopolska Province, in 2021 another self-governmental program called "Blue-Green Initiatives for Wielkopolska" was announced, which is very popular, therefore the Self-Government of Wielkopolska Province decided to increase its funding and so in 2022 allocated 2 million PLN for this purpose. The idea behind the program is to strengthen and preserve biodiversity in accordance with the principle that all greenery can foster biodiversity and become a structural element of the global ecological network. Therefore, the range of local actions that can be submitted under the Programme is very wide. Co-financing may be provided for such forms as: bioretention basins and small ponds, rain gardens, green playgrounds, green stops or green roofs, facades and walls, honeydew squares, dog runs, educational alleys and e.g. pocket parks, bird copses and insect houses. Beneficiaries of the program may be local government units from Wielkopolskie Voivodship except cities with poviat rights.