Cleaning Up After Communism In Poland

Poland takes the lead in tackling an environmental mess

For 27 years, Ryszard Chrapek has run the Czechowice Refinery in Upper Silesia, the industrial wasteland of southwest Poland. Right now, his main problem is its aged coal-fired power plant, which pumps sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the dingy air. The cost of cleaning it up could be nearly $1 million--one-fifth of last year's profit. "We understand this needs to be fixed," he laments. "But we are not a rich company."

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