This internet version of The State of Environment in Poland is based on the original report published by the State Inspectorate for Environmental Protection and the UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre, which was financed by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management. The GRID-Warsaw Centre would like to express its gratitude to Minister Andrzej Walewski, Chief Inspector of Environmental Protection, for his approval of creating an internet version of the original publication. This report remains faithful to the originial with the exception of updated data, maps, and corresponding text.

In addtion, to facilitate your perusal of the internet version we have constructed the following format. At the bottom of every page you will find a path back to the chapter of interest, to the State of Environment in Poland Homepage, to the GRID-Warsaw Homepage, and finally to the Homepage of The Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources, and Forestry.



 Generally, problems related to the unfavorable changes of the environment in Poland are familiar to many members of our society. People who deal, in their professional lives, with environmental protection know in addition the tasks that should be carried out in order to prevent further degradation of the nature in Poland adn to ensure the gradual restoring of its most damaged elements. The extent of the necessary actions exceeds in the short run the capabilities of the state. For several dozen years, the centrally planned economy in the predominant rule was to incresase production with minimal expenses for protection and cultivation of the exploited resources. This has led to such a large accumulation of outstanding work in the domain of hte environmental protection that today very often we have to choose betweent the urgent tasks and the most urgent ones. We must direct the financial resources ear-marked for the environmental protection to these tasks which are the most cost-effective. In order to make such choices rationally it is necessary to have reliable information about the state of the environment in Poland and the changes that are occurring in it.

 Credible information about the degree of degradation of the particular elements of the natural environment, that is water, air, soil, plants adn animals is necessary for governmental agencies of all levels to make optimum decisions. This knowledge is also required by the governments in the communes, that decide about hte land use, the voivodes, who determine where to build an industrial plant, as well as the members of hte central government, who need this information when they decide on the rules of the restructuring of the industry in a region. The awareness of hte degree of pollution of water, air, soil and food products is also necessary for all of us. In a democratic country man has the RIGHT to reliable information about the state of the environment in which he lives and about the hazards that result from it.

 All of the above resulted in the development, in the last two years, of State Environmental Monitoring. State Environmental Monitoring is a system for studying and evaluating the state of the environment. It ensures the registration of the changes occurring in the environment.

 The basic characteristic of this system is the reliability and credibility of hte information. To achieve this one needs to develop a uniform research methodology, define clearly the authority for the units working in this system and co-ordinate their activities.

 Such a co-ordinator of the State Enviromental Monitoring is the State Inspectorate for Environmental Protection ñ an agency of the national government, which also controls the compliance with the environmental regulations and enforces obeying them.

 The State Inspectorate for Environmental Protection reports to the Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry and is headed by the Chief Inspector for Environmental Protection. It is from the initiative and on the behest of the State Inspectorate for Environmental Protection athat this study - "State of the Environment in Poland" ñ was written. At the end I would like to emphaSIZE that this study is not a report on the state of the environment in Poland. Such reports will be prepared by the State Inspectorate for Environmental Protection in the nearest future, when the standing of environmental monitoring will be adequate for their preparation. Today the State Inspectorate for Environmental Protection informs about the state of the particular elements of the environment: water, air, etc. This publication is an attempt to evaluate the state of the environment in Poland and to classify the main hazards to it.

 This study was prepared in the Environmental Information Centre GRID-Warsaw, which was established in 1991 on the basis of an agreement of the Republic of Poland and UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) with the financial SUPport of the government of Norway. It is one of the ten centres of the Global Resource Information Database ñ GRID, which were established from the initiative of UNEP. GRID-Warsaw wants to SUPply the people within our country and foreigners with the current data about the environment. At the same time, GRID wants to ensure access to geographic information systems, satellite image processing technology and telecommunication technology.

 The basic idea that guided the State Inspectorate for Environmental Protection when it commissioned this study was to deliver information about these problems to a large group of readers and not only to the specialists in this domain. That is why the experts in particular fields were asked to write the specific chapters of this book.

Andrzej Walewski
Chief Inspector for Environmental Protection
Under-Secretary of State