Shame On You! Anti-Smog Social Campaign

This Anti-Smog Campaign engages with local identity to transform attitudes on heat homes enabling a transition to cleaner energy sources and, consequently, cleaner air.


Rybnik is a medium-size town in an industrial part of Poland's Silesian Voivodship, with two operating coal mines which will be the last to be closed in the EU. Poland remains well behind the rest of Europe in transition from coal, and Rybnik has been an infamous leader in terms of air pollution levels which have been the highest in the EU. The main goal of the Mayor has been to reduce air pollution, caused by pollutant emissions from domestic coal burners in 19,000 houses. In 2020, he initiated a comprehensive social campaign, aimed at a traditional mining community. 


The "Shame On You!" campaign is conducted in Silesian dialect - "Gańba" - and is covered on social media, TV and radio, advertising platforms, local newspapers, the city app, SMSs. The campaign engages celebrities and local authorities to convince individuals to replace old heating systems with new high-efficiency systems using renewable energy. The target group - mainly former miners - have a strong feeling that coal is the best source of thermal energy, due to a strong and well-established mining tradition. However, the anti-smog campaign engages with the Silesian identity, transforming it into pride in a city where residents breathe clean air.


Tens of thousands of inhabitants of Rybnik - potential polluters - received complex information on the threats posed by air pollution together with benefits coming from clean energy. The campaign was accompanied by financial support for the replacement of heating sources. The campaign was a huge success – using new technologies to heat homes became trendy and 9,000 old heating systems have been replaced since 2020. The most important impact is improved air quality: in 2023, significant progress was recorded for the first time, with the number of days which exceed PM10 limit dropping from 96 to 9.

Project owner
Piotr Kuczera
Mayor of the City of Rybnik
Project staff
Rober Cebula
Chief executive of the City of Rybnik
Project team
Kamil Styga
Chief specialist, Department of Media and Marketing, City of Rybnik
Project team
Bartłomiej Kozieł
Chief specialist, Department of Development, City of Rybnik
Project team
Agnieszka Skupień
Press officer of the City of Rybnik
Project team
Sylwia Brzezicka-Tesarczyk
Director of the Centre for Sustainable Urban Resource Management, City of Rybnik
Project team
Adrian Strzelczyk
Centre for Sustainable Urban Resource Management, City of Rybnik