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The Warsaw Voice » Business » December 21, 2012
Business & Economy
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Warsaw Goes Green
December 21, 2012   
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This year’s United Nations climate talks will be held in Warsaw. The choice of Warsaw as the host of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) summit was announced at the climate conference which recently closed in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Warsaw will be visited by heads of state and negotiators from 192 countries.

Warsaw is a city that pays a great deal of attention to environmental protection. In keeping with the motto “think globally, act locally,” the city works hard to protect the climate. For example, in 2009 it joined the Covenant of Mayors, a movement endorsed by the European Commission which works to prevent climate change. The covenant has adopted an Action Plan according to which by 2020, Warsaw is planning to reduce the amount of CO2 in the city by 20 percent.

Warsaw has also joined forces with partners in Austria, Germany and Italy on an initiative called Cities on Power. As part of the undertaking, energy-use models are being drawn up for city development projects. Special energy profiles will be compiled for five buildings in Warsaw.

All the resulting solutions will help protect the rich natural resources of Warsaw. These include over 70 parks, a dozen natural reserves and over 450 “natural features.” Thanks to radial strips of undeveloped space in the city, the city has uninterrupted access to fresh air which steadily flows from the nearby Kampinos National Park and the Chojnowski Scenic Park.

The Vistula River is now cleaner thanks to the Czajka sewage treatment plant-Poland’s most modern and most efficient as well as one of the largest such facilities in Europe. Following thorough modernization and enlargement of the Czajka plant, no sewage from Warsaw is left untreated and the process conforms even with the restrictive guidelines of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM).

In summer, the eastern bank of the Vistula attracts Warsaw resident with three beaches. Boasting lush nature like no other city in Europe, Warsaw is the only European metropolis to have joined the LIFE+ project which will add more scenic trails and bird-watching sites to the river’s eastern bank.

Across the river, cyclists can enjoy a 10-kilometer Vistula Bicycle Trail which will be further extended to a total of 28 kilometers spanning the entire western bank within the city limits. This side of the Vistula will take on a whole new look following the redevelopment of the riverside boulevard between the Copernicus Science Center and the Podzamcze area near the Old Town.

In 2012, the city launched the Veturilo bike sharing system with unmanned bike rental facilities. It proved a hit with the locals, as evidenced by a record 250,000 bike rentals over the first three months. In the near future, Warsaw will have a total of 128 bike rental points with around 2,100 bikes.

According to the Going Green in Eastern Europe report by Jones Lang LaSalle, Warsaw tops the statistics in Central and Eastern Europe as the city with the largest volume of space in new office buildings aspiring to obtain LEED and BREEM green certificates.

Warsaw is a city that cherishes the natural environment surrounding it. It is only natural for the city authorities to pursue environmental protection measures and Warsaw is a natural choice to host the upcoming UN conference.
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