The opposition LMP has called on the government to take immediate steps against the burning of household waste as heating fuel. Party board member Örs Tetlák told a press conference on Tuesday that air pollution led to some 10,000 premature deaths annually and to nearly 100,000 illnesses. Tetlák, who is also the deputy mayor of Érd, near Budapest, said the practice to burn household waste for heating purposes had been spreading with the growing energy crisis.
Poisonous fumes from burning painted window frames or bales of clothing cause cancer, heart failure and are extremely dangerous for children, Tetlák warned. He called on the government to phase out coal and lignite heating and to ban selling bad quality firewood and burning garden waste. The government should also launch a programme to revamp the energy use of low-income homes, and to consider income levels when setting energy prices. He also called for reinstating the right of local authorities to take meaningful steps against polluters. According to surveys, only some 15% of those heating with garbage do so for purely economic reasons. One-third of polluters do so due to lack of information or carelessness, he added.