The burning of waste by private individuals causes much of Hungary’s air pollution, a government official said on Monday.
Poor air quality caused by a high concentration of dust particles was reported in several cities over the weekend, András Rácz, the environment state secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, told a press conference.
A public opinion poll carried out last year showed that people believe the high concentration of dust particles in the air resulted mostly from industry and transport, Rácz said.
In reality, however, this is only responsible for around 25 percent of pollution, and members of the public are actually causing most of the pollution, he said. Around 14 percent of those questioned “admitted” that they had burnt waste despite its illegality, he added.
The public opinion poll also revealed that around a quarter of the population believed air pollution was the greatest environmental problem, and the government should highlight this in order to improve the situation, Rácz said.
This is why the government has launched a campaign dubbed “heat smart”, distributing information about ways to keep heating costs under control, including correct methods of burning, Rácz added. He highlighted the ban on burning household and garden waste, adding that burning fibreboards and laminated boards was also prohibited. Those that still use coal for heating are advised to avoid lignite, which can be especially hazardous to health, he said.
Rácz said Hungary had the right infrastructure to monitor air quality, with 54 fixed measurement points in 32 towns and cities. Additionally, measurements are taken at 138 spots regularly by 12 mobile vehicles, he added.