The Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek (hereinafter O/K/F-M) agglomeration is one of the most highly urbanised and industrialised areas in Central Europe (Chap. VIII). Geographically, it corresponds to approximately the south-western fifth of the Upper Silesian basin, of which a major part lies in the Republic of Poland. The territory has been historically burdened by extensive industrial activity in the area of the Upper Carboniferous mineral coal basin. Air pollution in the area is caused by the high concentration of industrial production, high density of built-up areas with local heating by solid fuels and the dense transport infrastructure on both side of the Czech-Polish border. Specific problems in the area include, e.g. emissions from burning tips and the considerable effect of fugitive emissions from extensive industrial facilities. Over most of the territory of the agglomeration, the boundaries of municipalities touch one another (called the Silesian type of built-up area) and industrial facilities are part of municipalities The concentration of suspended particulates measured at stations that are classified as rural or background are substantially higher than at similarly classified stations in the remaining parts of the Czech Republic. This is caused by high emissions in transboundary areas, i.e. not only production of pollutants by sources on the Czech side of the border, but also transboundary exchange of polluted air with the Republic of Poland (for details see the Air Silesia and Clean Border projects1). The effect of transboundary trans-mission of pollution can also be monitored on examples of pollution and wind roses at Ostrava- Fifejdy. For monitoring long-term above-limit pollutant concentrations in the atmosphere and their trends, the area is covered by a dense network of more than twenty permanent measuring stations of various organisations, which are supple-mented by specialised temporary measurements2.

V.3.1 Ambient air quality in the agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek

Suspended particles PM10 and PM2.5

The limit values for the concentrations of suspended particulates and some harmful pollutants bound to them, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), are permanently exceeded in the O/K/F-M agglomeration. The pollution values measured at locations in the agglomeration are the highest in the statistics for the country. The highest average annual PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations are measured not only around industrial facilities, but especially close to the Czech-Polish border, where the area is affected by emissions from both the Czech Republic and the Republic of Poland. Concentrations below the pollution limit levels are most frequently measured in the southern part of the agglomeration at background and rural locations in the Moravian- Silesian Beskydy Mountains and their foothills. It is characteristic for the PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations in the agglomeration that the increase is greater in the winter season than in other areas of the Czech Republic. Nonetheless, in some years the average PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations in the summer at industrial locations attain values up to the level of the annual pollution limit values, confirming that air pollution by SPM in the agglomeration is not a problem only in the cold half of the year and under smog conditions. The ratio of the PM2.5/PM10 concentrations in the agglomeration and also in the entire Moravian-Silesian region is higher than in other parts of the Czech Republic. The fraction of finer particles in PM10 is higher here, especially in the colder part of the year.

Inter-annual fluctuations are substantially affected by the meteorological conditions predominating in the individual years, especially in their colder seasons. The average annual values were higher in years when there were longer episodes with an inversion character of the weather (2005, 2006, 2010). In 2016 there was a substantial decrease in the occurrence of unfavourable dispersion conditions in the colder part of the year and the year was evaluated as having temperatures which were much above normal (Chap. III). This situation contributed to a reduction in the average particulate concentrations at most localities. In 2016, for the first time in the eleven-year series of measurements, the average annual concentrations of PM10 particulates were below the limit values at all the locations in the agglomeration with a complete time series (Fig. V.3.1). An above-limit average annual PM10 con- centration (41.0 μg.m-3) was measured only at the Ostrava-Radvanice Health Centre industrial location. At locations with a continuous 20-year series of PM10 measurements, the concentrations at some stations at the edge of the pollution nucleus of the agglomeration attained historically minimum values. An above-limit average PM2.5 concentration was measured for the first time at a minority of locations monitoring this particulate fraction. Above-limit concentrations were measured at industrial locations in Ostrava and at the Polish border agglomeration in the Karviná area (Fig. V.3.2).

In 2016 at all types of locations in the agglomeration, there was a further inter-annual decrease in the number of days with above-limit daily average PM10 concentrations (Fig. V.3.4). However, the limit of 35 days with above-limit daily concentrations tolerated by the legislation was still exceeded at most of the monitoring stations in 2016. The background locations of Čeladná and Návsí u Jablunkova and newly some urban locations in Ostrava (Ostrava-Poruba/ČHMÚ, Ostrava-Mariánské hory) were exceptions. The limit of 35 days was already exceeded in the first quarter of the year at approximately half the stations. Above-limit daily values occurred here on 10–15% of the days in the year. This fraction corresponded to a quarter of the year at the most highly polluted Ostrava location of Ostrava-Radvanice Health Centre. Above-limit average daily PM10 concentrations occurred only a few times at the measuring stations in the agglomeration, in contrast to the other areas of the Czech Republic, including the summer months, in both urban and rural locations. The annual variation in PM10 pollution in 2016 had a quite typical shape. The greatest fractions of days with above-limit values occurred in January and December (Fig. V.3.3).

In the cold part of the year with prolonged episodes with low wind speeds and inversion character of the weather, there was a gradual increase in concentrations in the O/K/F-M agglomeration, especially of suspended particulates, leading to exceeding of the pollution limit levels and threshold values for smog situations. Even in 2016 with highly above-normal temperatures (Chap. III), two smog situations were announced in January in the O/K/F-M agglomeration without the Třinec area because of exceeding the threshold values for PM10 suspended particulates. In the Třinec part of the agglomeration, a smog situation was announced once at the beginning of January. However, regulation of specific sources substantially contributing to pollution levels was not announced (Chap. VI).

Nitrogen dioxide NO2

The annual average NO2 concentrations in 2016 were below the limit values at all the monitored locations in the agglomeration. A very slight decreasing trend, which has lasted since 2010, continued at all types of locations. For the third year in a row, slightly under-limit average annual concentrations of NO2 were measured at the Ostrava-Českobratrská location (hot spot), concerned with monitoring pollution originating primarily in traffic in an urban street canyon (Fig. V.3.5).


The level of pollution by benzo[a]pyrene is a very serious problem in the entire cross-border area of Silesia and Moravia. In the Czech Republic, permanently several-times higher contents of this pollutant are measured in the O/K/F-M agglomeration. The annual variation exhibits maximum benzo[a]pyrene concentrations in the colder parts of the year, while summer concentrations are substantially lower. In 2016, similarly as in previous years, the annual average concentrations in the agglomeration exceeded the pollution limit values several times. An alarming value of approximately three times greater than the concentration level measured at most other industrial locations in Ostrava was obtained for the average annual concentrations measured at the Ostrava-Radvanice Heath Centre location (9 ng.m-3). There was an inter-annual increase in the average annual concentration only at this station. Similarly high values as those measured at this station can, however, be anticipated in the Czech-Polish border area because of the high concentrations measured in the south of the Republic of Poland (Fig. V.3.6). Inter-annually, there was an overall slight decrease in concentrations in the agglomeration.

Tropospheric ozone

In 2016, the number of times the pollution limit level was exceeded for tropospheric ozone (maximum 8-hour daily average) on an average over three years within locations with at least a 10-year continuous series of measurements did not exceed the permitted limit of 25 days at the Ostrava-Fifejdy location. The number of days when the limit value was exceeded increased at half the locations compared to the previously evaluated three-year period. The concentrations measured in the unusually warm summer of 2015 made the greatest contribution to the resultant values. However, the resultant concentrations did not attain values typical for the period with elevated measured levels of tropospheric ozone prior to 2010 (Fig. V.3.7). In 2016, smog situations were not declared because of high hourly tropospheric ozone concentrations in the O/K/F-M agglomeration (without the Třinec area) or in the Třinec area (Chap. VI).

Further evaluation

The annual average benzene concentrations in 2016 at all the locations in the agglomeration were below the limit value and again decreased inter-annually at most stations. At the Ostrava-Přívoz industrial location, where substantially above-limit values were measured before 2013 with concentrations just below the pollution limit levels in 2015, the average annual benzene concentrations in 2016 were approximately two thirds of the pollution limit values.

The carbon monoxide levels have been below the limit vales for a long time in the Czech Republic. At two Ostrava locations in the agglomeration, the measured values are consistently higher than in other areas of the Czech Republic because of higher emissions from industrial sources (Fig. V.1).

The sulphur dioxide concentrations in the agglomeration did not exceed the pollution limit values for human health. The average annual concentrations decreased inter-annually at most stations, with the exception of locations near the border and industrial locations at Ostrava-Radvanice, where higher SO2 values than in the rest of the agglomeration have long been measured (Fig. V.1). Compared to the past decade, the average concentration level in the agglomeration in 2016 was comparable to the values in the 2007–2009 period with low pollutant levels.

The metal concentrations in suspended particulates PM10 have decreased since 2006. The decreasing trend in 2016 was marked for almost all the average annual metal concentrations in PM10. The concentration of manganese was an exception, for which the trend was not manifested and its concentration increased slightly at some industrial locations. The pollution limit values (stipulated for nickel, arsenic, cadmium and lead) were not exceeded in 2016.

V.3.2 Emissions in the agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek

The individual categories of emission sources have different importance in the O/K/F-M agglomeration than in other parts of the Czech Republic. Large industrial enterprises still predominate amongst sources of primary emissions of suspended particulate matter (SPM). In 2016, important metallurgical complexes together with coke plants and energy production plants produced almost 1100 tons of SPM emissions, which was again less (by approx. 250 t) than in the previous year. These sources unambiguously predominate in production of SO2 and NOx emissions, contributing approx. 95% of total emissions from stationary sources. Similarly as for other important energy sources in the Czech Republic, there was a reduction in SO2 and NOx emissions as a result of reconstruction of facilities to reduce emissions. For operators, this reconstruction and modernisation were favourably reflected in the possibility of imposing fees for air pollution in connection with the provisions of Article 15 (6) of the Act, which applied for the first time to emissions in 2016. The fraction of emissions from local heating sources predominated for benzo[a]pyrene and, in contrast to the other evaluated territories, industrial enterprises for producing coke and iron substantially contributed to the remaining amount. The reduction of the contributions of these enterprises to overall emissions of benzo[a]pyrene compared to the previous year is related to updating of the emission inventory for 2000–2013 in NFR format, which took place in 2015. Its changes were manifested most in the emissions of heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants (Hnilicová et al. 2016).

of sources of air pollution included in the REZZO 1 and REZZO 2 databases are individually registered in the territory of the agglomeration. Only several dozen of them have a substantial effect on overall emissions. These are primarily metallurgical production (ore agglomeration, production of pig iron and steel, and foundries), production of coke and energy (e.g. Elektrárna Třebovice and Elektrárna Dětmarovice) and heat sources. Approximately fifteen of the most important facilities annually produce 90% of all emissions of the individually monitored sources, where a significant portion also corresponds to difficult-to-estimate fugitive SPM emissions, produced, e.g. from landfills, handling of free-flowing materials and in halls with dusty operations.

According to the outputs of SLDB 2011, central heating sources predominate in heating households (59% of apartments), followed by gas boilers and local gas boilers (together 25% of apartments). The greatest differences can be found in the evaluated territory based primarily on the character of households in the individual districts. While in the Frýdek-Místek district the fraction of apartments heated locally with solid fuels is close to 20%, this fraction equals only approx. 8% in the Karviná district and only 4% in the Ostrava district. This fact, exacerbated in addition by the higher average altitude of settlements in the Frýdek-Místek district and the greater average size of apartments, is manifested primarily in emissions that have a substantial portion in the REZZO 3 category, i.e. SPM and particulates, VOC, benzene and especially emissions of benzo[a]pyrene.

In 2002–2016, the emissions of all the monitored pollutants decreased at all these important sources (e.g. for SPM by approx. 70% and for SO2 and NO2 by approx. 25%). Part of this reduction is a consequence of reduction of the production of pig iron and the related production of metallurgical coke and steel, connected, e.g. with shutting down operations of the Jan Šverma coke plant and some production operations of VÍTKOVICE STEEL in Ostrava. Simultaneously, a number of new measures were implemented, for both heat production and electrical energy production sources, especially for metallurgical production and coke plants. In spite of these favourable measures, the production of emissions of the mentioned pollutants and also others, such as CO and VOC, remain high and contribute to deterioration of the air quality, not only in the territory of the agglomeration, but also in neighbouring districts and regions, including the Republic of Poland.

Emissions from household heating make an uncertain contribution to the pollution levels, not only on the Czech, but also on the Polish side of the border, especially the border areas. The greater probability of operation of two-fuel household heating systems (e.g. a combination of natural gas and a wood-burning boiler or fireplace), which cannot be relevantly evaluated from the SLDB data, is an important factor, which is reflected primarily in the local air quality. Similarly, the composition of solidfuel boilers from the viewpoint of their type, age and emission class is very unfavourable in the evaluated area from the viewpoint of air quality. Where there are inter-annual changes in the production of emissions from household heating, they are mainly connected with meteorological conditions in the relevant year, i.e. with temperatures, especially during the cold half of the year and the related length of the heating season. Former or existing programmes for improving air quality, e.g. support through the Green Light for Savings programme and the Boiler Subsidies programme, have not brought about changes in the overall composition of household heating that would substantially reduce the number of obsolete combustion facilities and replace them with more environmentally friendly equipment.

V.3.3 Conclusion

There is a specific contributing share of the individual categories of emissions in the O/K/F-M agglomeration; REZZO 1 sources dominate in all the mentioned categories with the exception of benzo[a]pyrene.

Thanks to reduction of the occurrence of unfavourable dispersion conditions in the cold parts of the year with highly above-normal temperatures, and also thanks to measures performed on all types of emission sources in the area, the trend in reducing pollution concentration levels, which reaches a maximum in the colder part of the year, continued in 2016. Nonetheless, above-limit concentrations of suspended particulates PM10 and PM2.5 remained at most locations in the agglomeration. The average annual concentrations of benzo[a]pyrene in PM10 are above-limit at all locations of stationary pollution level monitoring in the agglomeration. Concentrations of this pollutant below the pollution limit level are monitored only in the context of temporary measurements in the higher mountain locations of the area. Average annual concentrations of NO2 at the high-traffic location of OstravaČeskobratrská (hot spot) vary just below the pollution limit level. In the cold part of the year, smog situations were announced in the territory of the agglomeration because of exceeding of the threshold value for suspended particulates PM10.

The pollution conditions in the warm part of the year were overall more favourable than in 2015. In 2016, no smog situation was announced for reasons of exceeding the threshold value for tropospheric ozone.


Fig. V.3.1 Average annual PM10 concentrations in selected localities and at individual types of stations, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2006–2016

Fig. V.3.2 Average annual PM2.5 concentrations, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2004–2016

Fig. V.3.3 Number of days with concentrations of PM10 > 50 µg.m-3 in individual months, incl. total number of exceedances, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2016

Fig. V.3.4 Number of exceedances of 24-hour limit value for PM10 in selected localities and the 36th highest 24-hour concentrations of PM10 at individual types of stations, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2006–2016

Fig. V.3.5 Average annual NO2 concentrations in selected localities and at individual types of stations, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2006–2016

Fig. V.3.6 Average annual benzo[a]pyrene concentrations, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2000–2016

Fig. V.3.7 Number of exceedances of the limit value of O3 in the average for three years, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2006–2016

Fig. V.3.8 Field of the annual concentration of NO2, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2016

Fig. V.3.9 Field of the 36th highest 24-hour concentration of PM10, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2016

1The project Ambient air quality improvement in the border area of the Czech Republic and Poland (www.cleanborder.eu) and the project Air quality information system in the Polish-Czech border area in the Silesian region and the Moravia-Silesia region (www.air-silesia.eu) within the Operation programme of transborder cooperation Czech Republic–Republic of Poland 2007–2013.

2The evaluation presented below shows measured concentrations air pollution monitoring stations in the southern part of the Silesian voivodeships in the Republic of Poland, see http://stacje.katowice.pios.gov.pl/monitoring). Data of comparable quality are available only since the year 2010.