The agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek (O/K/F-M) is one of the most urbanized and industrialized areas in central Europe, geographically it covers the southwestern part (approx. one fifth) of the Upper Silesian basin, extending for the greater part in the territory of the Republic of Poland. The area has historical loads from extensive industrial activities in the Upper Carboniferous basin. The sources of ambient air pollution in this area include high concentration of industrial production, high density of built-up areas with local heating using solid fuels and concentrated transport infrastructure on both sides of the Czech-Polish border. Specific problems of the area are caused by the emissions from burning slag heaps and by the significant effect of fugitive emissions from large industrial facilities. The villages and towns in most of the agglomeration territory are very close to each other, they are almost connected (so called Silesian type of house building), and the industrial zones form the part of the cities. The concentrations of suspended particles measured at the stations classified as rural or background are significantly higher than at similarly classified stations in other parts of the CR. This is caused by high emissions in the cross-border area, i.e. not only by the production of pollutants produced by sources on the Czech side of the border, but also by the transborder exchange of pollutants with the Republic of Poland (more details see e.g. in the results of transborder projects Air Silesia and Clean Border1). Due to the above-thelimit concentrations of some pollutants recorded in the long term the area is covered by a dense network of 24 air pollution monitoring stations2.

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

Suspended particles PM10 and PM2.5

The limit value concentrations of suspended particles and some other pollutants bound to them, e.g. poly-cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), are exceeded in the agglomeration of O/K/F-M in the long term.
The values measured in urban localities of the agglomeration rank high in the statistical records within the CR. The highest average annual concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 are measured in the localities near the Czech-Polish border affected by emissions both from the Czech Republic and the Republic of Poland. The concentrations below the limit values are measured mostly in the southern part of the agglomeration in background and rural localities of the Moravskoslezské Beskydy Mts. and their foothills. The PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations in the agglomeration are characterized by more marked growth in winter period in comparison with other areas of the CR. The ratio of PM2.5/PM10 concentrations is higher in the Moravia-Silesia region than in other parts of the CR, i.e. the share of fine particles in PM10 is higher mainly in the cold part of the year.

In 2013 the above-the-limit annual average concentrations of PM10 particles were measured in the cities in the Karviná area and in most localities in Ostrava (Fig. V.3.1). The above-the-limit annual average concentration of PM2.5 was measured in all localities monitoring this fraction, with the exception of the background locality Čeladná (Fig. V.3.2). Unlike other areas, the measuring stations in the agglomeration of O/K/F-M record the above-thelimit daily concentrations of PM10 also in summer months, even in suburban localities. The highest share of the days with above-the-limit values was recorded as usually in the cold part of the year during the heating season, with peak levels in January and February (Fig. V.3.3). The permissible number of 35 days with above-the-limit daily concentration set by the legislation was exceeded in all localities with continuous measurement of PM10 in 2013, the most polluted localities in the agglomeration (industrial localities and localities near the Czech-Polish border in the Karviná area) was exceeded already in the first months of the calendar year. In the localities Ostrava-Radvanice ZÚ (industrial locality) and Ostrava-Zábřeh (locality influenced by ongoing building activity) the above-the-limit daily values occurred in more than 100 days (Fig. V.3.4).
During the long episodes with inversions the concentrations of pollutants, primarily those of suspended particles, are gradually increasing, which results in the exceedance of the limit values and threshold values for smog situations. During January and February 2013 four smog situations were announced in the agglomeration and in the Třinec area, and on 17–18 February 2013 regulation was announced in the agglomeration of O/K/F-M without Třinec area, i.e. there were valid special conditions of operation for stationary sources contributing significantly to air pollution level by exceeding the regulatory threshold value for PM10 particles pursuant to the Air Protection Act. In November 2013 smog situation was announced in the agglomeration of O/K/F-M without Třinec area. The length of all smog situations in the year 2013 was 426 hours (almost 18 days).

The annual course of air pollution in 2013 was influenced by high air pollution concentrations in January and February. In comparison with the previous year the total number of days with abovethe-limit daily concentrations of PM10 per calendar year increased in urban localities of the agglomeration. Due to atypical character of the weather at the end of the year 2013 with prevailing good dispersion conditions in the area, the result average annual concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 particles remained comparable with the previous two years (Fig. III.8). The increase of the number of exceedances of the daily limit value and the annual average concentration of PM10 in 2013 as against the values measured in the previous years was recorded in the locality Ostrava-Zábřeh due to the local influence of the measuring site by ongoing construction of road connection. The estimated contribution of this building activity to the annual average is approx. 10 %, i.e. several micrograms. The number of exceedances of the daily limit value in other stations in Ostrava increased in 2013 as compared with the year 2012 by approx. 10–15 %, in Ostrava-Zábřeh by 61 %.

The year-to-year comparison shows the fluctuation character of the average annual concentrations and there is no evident trend indicating the improvement of the long lasting unfavourable air pollution situation. The fluctuation is significantly influenced by meteorological conditions prevailing in the respective years (mainly in the cold periods). In the years with the occurrence of longer episodes with inversions (2005, 2006, 2010) the average annual values increased (Fig. V.2).

Nitrogen dioxide NO2

Similarly as in the previous years the limit value of the average annual concentration of NO2 was exceeded at the traffic hot-spot station OstravaČeskobratrská. It can be expected that similar concentration levels may occur in other localities with similar traffic loads in Ostrava.

Concentrations of NO2 in 2013 as compared with the previous year slightly decreased in all types of localities, nevertheless there has not been any apparent trend in most localities since the year 2006. A slight decrease of concentrations was recorded only in the hot spot locality Ostrava-Českobratrská (Fig. V.3.5).


The level of air pollution caused by benzo[a]pyrene is a very serious problem in the whole transboundary area of Silesia and Moravia. In 2013 the annual average concentrations in the agglomeration recorded almost threefold to ninefold exceedance of the limit value. The highest concentration was measured in the industrial locality Ostrava-Radvanice. With regard to considerably high concentrations measured in southern Poland it can be assumed that similarly high levels occur also in the Czech-Polish boundary area (Fig. V.3.6).

The annual course shows the maximum benzo[a]pyrene levels in the cold parts of the year, the summer concentrations are lower. In most localities the concentrations show a slightly decreasing year-to-year trend, in 2013 all localities measured lower concentrations than in the previous year.

Further evaluation

For the first time since the beginning of benzene measurements in the agglomeration (1999) the annual average concentration of this pollutant decreased in 2013 in Ostrava-Přívoz below the limit value. Up to the year 2012 this was the only locality in the CR with above-the-limit benzene concentrations.
The concentrations of carbon monoxide remain below the limit value in the long term, in spite of the fact that the values measured in the agglomeration are higher than in other areas of the Czech Republic, in connection with higher emissions from industrial sources (Fig. V.1).

The concentrations of sulphur dioxide in the agglomeration do not exceed the limit values for the protection of human health. The average annual concentrations had mostly a decreasing level also in the year 2013 (Fig. V.1). Higher concentrations are reached in industrial localities and in the localities near the state boundary with the Republic of Poland.

Since the year 2006 the concentrations of metals in PM10 suspended particles have been decreasing in the agglomeration. The positive trend continued in all localities except for the station Bílý Kříž in the ridges of the Beskydy Mts. also in the year 2013 in arsenic, cadmium, lead and nickel. The limit values have not been exceeded in the recent years.

In 2013 the number of exceedances of the limit value for ground-level ozone in the average for three years exceeded closely the permissible level of 25 days in the locality Bílý Kříž in the ridges of the Beskydy Mts. In comparison with the previous years the number of days with exceedances slightly increased in 2013 in all localities measuring this pollutant in the agglomeration. However, in total the values of this characteristic have remained at lower level since the year 2009 (Fig. V.3.7).

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

Individual categories of emission sources in the agglomeration of O/K/F-M have different distribution than in other areas of the CR. As concerns primary emissions of TSP, the dominant position is occupied by emissions from large industrial sources (about 2/3 share), followed by emissions from residential heating (30 %). The share of traffic in total emissions of TSP is not very significant3. The total quantity of produced TSP emissions in the area is an order higher than the emissions reported in the agglomeration of Prague and the agglomeration of Brno. In benzo[a]pyrene the share of emissions from residential heating represents approximately one half of the total annual emission, there is a significant share of emissions from large industrial sources again (38 %), not reported at all by the remaining agglomerations, and traffic has a smaller share (9 %). Total emissions in the agglomeration of O/K/F-M are approx. five times as high as in the agglomeration of Prague and eight times as high as in the agglomeration of Brno. As concerns SO2 and NO2 emissions from stationary sources, absolutely dominant in the agglomeration (95 %) are emissions from large REZZO 1 sources4 (Fig. V.3.8).

At present there are more than 900 individually registered plants – sources of ambient air pollution included in the REZZO 1 and REZZO 2 database. Only several dozens of them have their significant contribution to total emissions. These include primarily metallurgy (agglomeration of ores, production of pig iron, steel and metal casting), coke production, production of electric energy (e.g. Dalkia Třebovice and power station Dětmarovice) and thermal energy suppliers. Approximately 15 most significant plants produce annually 90 % of all emissions from individually monitored sources, while the considerable share is contributed also by hardly determinable fugitive emissions of TSP, produced e.g. in storage areas, handling of loose materials and in shop floors with dusty operations.

As concerns heating in households and in the communal sector there prevail central sources of heat energy (about 59 % of flats) and gas boiler stations and local gas boilers (about 25 % of flats). There are significant differences in the evaluated area resulting primarily from the character of the structure of dwellings in the districts of Ostrava, Karviná and Frýdek-Místek. In the district of Frýdek-Místek the share of flats heated locally by solid fuels amounts to 20 %, in the district of Karviná 8 % and in the district of Ostrava only 4 %. This fact, stressed moreover by higher average altitude of settlements in the district of Frýdek-Místek and by larger average flat area, is apparent primarily in emissions with more significant share of REZZO 3 category, i.e. in TSP and particles, VOC, benzene and mainly in benzo[a]pyrene emissions.

In the period 2002–2012 the above mentioned significant sources recorded the decrease of all monitored emissions (e.g. in TSP by about 50 %, in SO2 and NOx by about 25 %). The decrease of emissions is partly the result of the decline in production of pig iron and the connected production of metallurgical coke and steel related e.g. to the shutdown of the coking plant Jan Šverma and some of the production technologies of EVRAZ Vítkovice Steel in Ostrava. Simultaneously, a number of important measures have been implemented in the recent period aimed at emission reduction, mainly of TSP and toxic emissions of heavy metals and POP bound to them. In spite of these positive trends, the production of emissions of the mentioned pollutants but also of other pollutants, such as CO and VOC, is still high and contributes to deteriorated ambient air quality not only in the territory of the agglomeration, but also in the neighbouring districts and regions including the Republic of Poland.

The share of emissions from household heating in the air pollution load of the whole agglomeration is questionable. An important factor manifested primarily in the local ambient air quality, is the higher probability of operating dual-fuel domestic household heating systems (e.g. combination natural gas and boiler or fireplace using wood), which cannot be rightly evaluated from the Census data. Similarly, the structure of the used solid fuel boilers, as concerns their types, age and emission class, is in terms of ambient air quality evaluation rather unfavourable. If there occur any year-to year changes in the production of emissions from household heating, they are connected mainly with meteorological situation. The previous or current programmes for the improvement of ambient air quality, e.g. supporting environmentally sound methods for producing heat and hot water through the Green Savings Programme or the Boiler Subsidy Programme, have not yet produced such changes in the overall structure of household heating sources which would significantly reduce the number of outdated combustion devices and replace them by the environmentally friendly ones.

V.3.3 Conclusion

In the year 2013 the concentrations of suspended particles remained at similar levels as in the previous year. The concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 particles and benzo[a]pyrene exceed the limit values in the long term in most localities. The above-the-limit concentration of NO2 was measured in the traffic hot spot locality in Ostrava.

The decrease was recorded in the annual average concentrations of benzene which in 2013, for the first time since the beginning of benzene measurements, remained below the annual limit value even as concerns the industrial locality Ostrava-Přívoz, and also in benzo[a]pyrene and metals contained in PM10 particles.

There is a specific representation of shares from individual categories of emission sources in the agglomeration. In all registered pollutants with the exception of benzo[a]pyrene the emissions from REZZO 1 sources prevail. Nevertheless, these emissions represent a significant share also in benzo[a]pyrene (38 %).

The decrease of average annual concentrations of the above listed pollutants in the recent years is probably the result of the reduction of emissions from industrial sources after implementing the measures aimed at emission reduction, mainly emissions of TSP and heavy metals and further pollutants bound to them.


Fig. V.3.1 Average annual PM10 concentrations in selected localities and at individual types of stations, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2006–2013

Fig. V.3.2 Average annual PM2.5 concentrations, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2004–2013

Fig. V.3.3 Number of days with concentrations of PM10 > 50 µg.m-3, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2013


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, 2006–2013

Fig. V.3.5 Average annual NO2 concentrations in selected localities and at individual types of stations, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2006–2013


Fig. V.3.6 Average annual benzo[a]pyrene concentrations, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2000–2013

Fig. V.3.7 Number of exceedances of the target value of O3 in the average for three years, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2006–2013

Fig. V.3.8 Most significant stationary sources of TSP, NOx and SO2 emissions, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2012

Fig. V.3.9 Field of the annual concentration of NO2, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2013

Fig. V.3.10 Field of the 36th highest 24-hour concentration of PM10, agglomeration of Ostrava/Karviná/Frýdek-Místek, 2013

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 the concentrations from the measurements at the stations of air pollution monitoring in the southern part of the Silesian Voivodship in the Republic of Poland, see http://stacje.katowice.pios.gov.pl/monitoring). Data of comparable quality are available only since the year 2010.
3The estimate of traffic share in total air pollution in the district Ostrava-město in the winter period without resuspension is about 12 % for TSP and 16 % for NOx (Jedlička et al. 2013)

4Evaluated on the basis of data for the year 2012. The final data for the year 2013 are not available by the deadline of the yearbook.