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Sniffer drones: The answer to Poland's suffocating smog problem?

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Video: How the Nosacz, or Sniffer, drone helps fight smog.

Polish cities have a huge smog problem. It's mainly caused by the country's almost religious use of coal-fired heating, but exacerbated by people burning rubbish instead of not-so-clean-but-still-cleaner fossil fuels.

Now, one Polish company is offering some technology that should simplify enforcement of environmental rules.

Like most large cities in Poland, Katowice is struggling with choking smog. Indeed, 33 of the top 50 worst-polluted cities in Europe are in Poland[1].

Katowice is right up there and, at one point during this winter, even had the worst air quality in the world[2], surpassing even the usual suspects, such as Kolkata and Mumbai in India.

On a fairly regular basis, the particle norms are exceeded five or six times in the Polish city. Katowice is hardly an exception, even though the situation is worse in the industrial, coal-loving south of the country.

Part of the problem is that consumers sometimes think of their heaters as easy waste disposal devices. While doing so is illegal, it is a law that's desperately hard to enforce.

The City Guard, as the Poles call their municipal police, can only conduct inspections by randomly knocking on doors and taking samples. Adding to that problem are the fines, which are pitched low even by Polish standards at 100 zloty, less than €25 or $30, and not much is happening to combat this problem.

But that may change thanks to a system thought up by Gliwice-based drone producer Flytronic[3]. In February the company conducted a pilot project with the Katowice City Guard to test their Nosacz,

Read more from our friends at ZDNet

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