GB No. 8, summer 1992


As a signatory of the Montreal Agreement, Poland is expected to eliminate the use of all ozone-depleting chemicals within its territory by the year 2000.

Last year Poland received $245mln from the World Bank for the modernization of the municipal heating systems in Gdańsk, Gdynia, Katowice, Kraków and Warsaw. The technical assistance was provided by experts from Denmark, Germany, Finland, France and Holland. The acceptance of the ready-insulated pipes, in the manufacture of which foam is required, thereby the use of freon gas, was the direct result of this co-operation.

In the opinion of the World Bank representatives (i.e. the creditors) Poland should assume the sole responsibility for the contractual purchase of the aforesaid pipes, whilst the World Bank would not be directly involved in the negotiations.

It appears to be a typical "washing-one's-hands-off" attitude, since it is common knowledge that the creditor may indeed significantly influence the manner in which the money is being spent.

It is thus of utmost importance that the Polish Ministry of Trade and Industry, which had authorized the use of the "freon pipes" in the first place, consider other aspects of using this particular type of pipes, than just their technical parameters alone.

The progressive destruction of the ozone layer is most certainly a long term consequence of the widescale use of such pipes and thus the appropriate contractual provisions should be introduced to rectify the situation.

Moreover, the two alternative chemicals recommended by the World Bank, HCFC and trichloroethane, also happen to be the ozone-depleting substances. The latter had been included in the proposal put forward by the Ministry of Environment, National Resources and Forestry. The use of trichloroethane is to be frozen on its 1989 level. Carbon dioxide seems to be the least harmful alternative. Due to the small amounts of carbon dioxide being actually used its contribution to the overall greenhouse effect would be quite negligible.

Darek Szwed
ZB 10/92
transl. by Sigullum Ltd.

GB No. 8, summer 1992 | Contents