On the map of Europe, Poland is the country with the worst air quality. There are many reasons for this. It is burning rubbish, using low-quality coal, a large number of cars in cities. All this can be changed, but there is one more reason why this is not the case. This is a lack of awareness. If everyone knew what kind of air they breathe and how harmful it is, they would certainly make small changes in their habits, and those multiplied by millions of Poles would immediately improve the situation.

Smog is a problem that intensifies with every heating season but stays with us throughout the whole year. The last report of the Supreme Control Office points out, that the air pollution in Poland ranks us on top of the whole European Union. European Environmental Agency informs us, that 46 thousand Poles die each year because of the poor air quality – as if all inhabitants of Kołobrzeg or Krosno disappeared.


Concerned by that, many recognizable Poles got engaged in the campaign “First 24 hours without smog”, organized by Global Compact Network Poland and WALK Group. The action is to be an impulse to get people interested and engaged.

Smog is a silent killer. You cannot hide from it, it is a global phenomenon. According to World Health Organization (WHO) data from 2018, Poland has 46 thousand premature and unnecessary deaths related to smog. Smog is a direct or indirect contributor to cancer, respiratory diseases, and strokes.

“Our aim is not to scare, but to inform. I believe, that through this game/campaign the problem of smog would be firmly placed in the awareness of all the Poles and be an important element of public debate. Small change multiplied by multitude would be a gamechanger for the air we breathe” explains the campaign author, Mariusz Pitura, Creative Director of WALK.

The campaign draws attention to the problem. If smog is present everywhere (even indoors), you can avoid it only by stopping to breathe. Holding your breath is a starting point for the titular aim of the campaign: achieving a cumulative 24 Hours Without Smog. Every breath held and recorded in the action adds to the campaign’s counter.

Everyone can participate by recording their film, upload it on Instagram and tag it @wstrzymajsmog. 50 well known Polish campaign ambassadors have already collected 45 minutes without smog. The Campaign is supported by the Global Compact Ambassadors and recognizable people from the world of sport, culture, art, media and show-business, who made this a pro-bono contribution.

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