Poland

Stretching from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Carpathian Mountains in the south, Poland is covered predominantly by farm land and flat plains. Forests make up about one-quarter of the territory and are home to various species, including European bison, lynx, forest Bilgoraj horse, boar and wild goat. Wolves and brown bears are found in the mountains, while moose and deer are fairly numerous in the lake districts.

Poland’s forests are particularly vulnerable to acid rain and other forms of air pollution, especially from the emissions of coal-fired plants. Other environmental problems facing the country are water pollution from industrial and municipal sources. About 60% of the rivers and 10% of the lakes in Poland have unsatisfactory or bad water quality. Two major rivers, the Vistula and the Oder, pour a considerable amount of organic pollutans into the Baltic Sea - one of the most polluted seas in the world.
 / ©: WWF-Canon / Anton Vorauer
Biebrza marshes, Poland.
© WWF-Canon / Anton Vorauer

Country Eco-tips

Energy and Water
  • Drinking water in Poland is safe for cooking or making coffee or tea, however, most people boil the water before drinking or buy bottled water.
  • Poland produces its energy almost entirely from coal and has yet to develop renewable energy sources. It is considering building nuclear power plants..
 
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Recycling
  • Recycling efforts in Poland are behind most European countries. As a new member of the EU, Poland has until 2010 to comply with  targets to recycle at least 55% of used paper, glass, metals and plastics.
  • Lodz was the first city in Poland to ban the distribution of free non-biodegradable plastic bags in shops. Many of the country’s biggest supermarkets are also banning plastic bags; bring your own bags when shopping.
 
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Transport
  • Poland has bus services between most of its cities and towns. There is also a network of inter-city buses in the larger cities. Bus stations are usually located right next to train stations.
  • Train travel is usually the quickest and best way to move between big cities. The Polish state railroad, PKP, has improved its service in recent years. Warsaw has direct connections to other parts of Europe.
  • In Warsaw, one can get around the city by an underground metro, buses or trams.
  • There are about 150 km of bicycle lanes and routes in Warsaw but they are not part of a well-integrated system and often end abruptly.
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Food
  • Poland exports 75% of its organic products.
    Domestic demand is growing as several supermarket chains follow the trend to include displays of organic products.
  • There are several accredited companies to certify organic farms and products, including Ekogwarancja.
  • There are a handful of health food stores and vegetarian restaurants in Warsaw - http://www.happycow.net/europe/poland/warsaw/index.html.
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Green Spots
  • Bialowieza National Park: Located in eastern Poland near the border with Belarus, Bialowieza is home to lynx, wolves and reintroduced European bison, as well as the last remaining stands of old-growth forests. The park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve, and is visited by approximately 200,000 tourists each year.
  • Bieszczady National Park: The largest mountain national park in the southeast corner of Poland bordering Slovakia and Ukraine, Bieszczady protects many of the country’s large mammals and predators, including brown bear, wolf, lynx, European bison, red deer, golden eagle and others. A well developed network of trails throughout the park provides opportunities for hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing.
  • Biebrza National Park: Located in northeast Poland, Biebrza is recognized for its vast marshes and peatlands, and its abundant birdlife. The park has been designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.
  • Kampinoski National Park: Located just northwest of the outskirts of Warsaw, this park is home to elk, beaver, roe deer, wild board and lynx. Visitors can take advantage of walking, cycling, horse riding and skiing trails.
  • Lazienki Royal Park: This is largest park in Warsaw, with landscaped gardens and the palace of Poland’s last monarch. During the summer, open-air Chopin concerts are held in the Rose Garden every Sunday at noon.
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Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the above information. However, WWF makes no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding errors or omissions and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use.
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