Europe

Schools closed, free buses in southern Poland amid smog

  • A statue of a mermaid, the symbol of Warsaw, wears a mask during smog alert in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday Jan. 9, 2017. Local activists put the mask on the statue to raise awareness about the dangerous levels of air pollution in Poland. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

    A statue of a mermaid, the symbol of Warsaw, wears a mask during smog alert in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday Jan. 9, 2017. Local activists put the mask on the statue to raise awareness about the dangerous levels of air pollution in Poland. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • A statue of a mermaid, the symbol of Warsaw, wears a mask during smog alert in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday Jan. 9, 2017. Local activists put the mask on the statue to raise awareness about the dangerous levels of air pollution in Poland. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

    A statue of a mermaid, the symbol of Warsaw, wears a mask during smog alert in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday Jan. 9, 2017. Local activists put the mask on the statue to raise awareness about the dangerous levels of air pollution in Poland. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man pushes a car from the snow after his driver lost control, in Malakasa about 29 kilometers (24 miles) north of Athens on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. Snow closed schools in the capital, as added pressure on the government to speed up winter preparations for thousands of refugees living in camps around the country. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

    A man pushes a car from the snow after his driver lost control, in Malakasa about 29 kilometers (24 miles) north of Athens on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. Snow closed schools in the capital, as added pressure on the government to speed up winter preparations for thousands of refugees living in camps around the country. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)  (The Associated Press)

Alarming smog levels in southern Poland have led authorities to close schools in one city and offer free transport in some places to protect children and try to improve the quality of air.

The government will debate how to fight the smog, after air pollution exceeded warning levels this week in Warsaw and in southern industrial areas experiencing a cold spell.

Children will stay home Tuesday and Wednesday in the low-lying southern city of Rybnik, where drivers were encouraged to use free city transport in an effort to cut down on fumes.

Air monitoring expert Barbara Toczko said Tuesday that the smog chiefly comes from substandard fuels being burned in poor quality heaters in private homes. With snow or precipitation, the pollution hangs over the area where it originated from.