Lignite is the dirtiest fossil fuel and contains high concentrations of toxic elements such as mercury, lead and cadmium.
Most of these substances are emitted to the atmosphere during the extraction, transport and combustion of coal and the storage of ashes.
Emissions from mining and transport are disorganised, i.e. they come from vast areas and depend on many external factors (e.g. wind), therefore are difficult to avoid and insufficiently reported. According to the environmental report, if the Turów opencast is extended, a significant increase in pollution by dust will occur at most 1 km from the mine boundary. This means that e.g. the entire town of Opolno Zdrój will be in the pollution zone. Uhelná, on the other hand, is just 1 km from the future border of the mine, so the increased concentration of particulate matter will also affect inhabited areas of Uhelná.
Emissions of air pollutants from the Turów power plant include suspended particulate matter PM2.5, NO2, mercury. They expose a huge number of people to an increased risk of diseases such as stroke, lung cancer, other respiratory and circulatory diseases. In children, they increase the risk of respiratory infections and cognitive development disorders. In 2017, air emissions from the Turów power plant were responsible for about 120 premature deaths - 80 of them outside Poland, mainly in the Czech Republic and Germany.