• “You have to burn with everything”

    Smog is descending on all major Polish cities, mainly due to the burning of illegal materials: Kraków, November 2022. Photo: Jakub Wlodek / Agencja Wyborcza.pl.

    “You have to burn with everything at the moment, except of course tyres, or things like that. Poland has to be warmed up.”

    This is what Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party, said last September, after the EU embargo on Russian coal entered into force. Since then, the price of firewood has doubled in the country, where 28.8% of households heat with wood.

    A 34-year-old resident of northern Poland took Kaczyński’s words to heart. When a municipal police patrol knocked on his door to penalise him for burning unauthorised materials, the man claimed that Kaczyński had publicly allowed him to do so, and refused to pay a fine of 500 Zloty (about 105 euros).

    The case will end up in court, which will probably pass a guilty verdict: The words of the Law and Justice chairman have no legal value.

    This article is part of the "Forests in the firing line" edition
    Where forests can kill
    Number of the week: 10m3
    Spain's brown gold rush
    “You have to burn with everything”
    "The forests are collapsing"