Green Warriors: Coal in the Lungs

Every year, 500,000 Europeans die prematurely due to air pollution. One of the main causes of this pollution is coal, still used in many countries. And this air pollution has no borders. It contaminates the entire continent.

Everywhere, citizens are fighting for the right to air that is safe to breathe. But lacking tangible evidence, their calls for regulation are easily dismissed. Together with scientists, a team of journalists sets out to search for evidence of air pollution.

In Poland, 75% of electricity is produced from coal. Rybnik, Poland, is one of the most polluted cities in Europe. Here, even before Covid, children wore masks to play outside and were advised to spend most of their time indoors to avoid breathing the toxic air. A shocking study conducted for this investigation reveals that children here have 425% more black carbon in their bodies than children in Strasbourg. It made headlines across Europe and even attracted the attention of the Polish government.

The study also showed that children in Strasbourg, a city with average levels of air pollution for a European metropolitan city, still have nearly a million particles of Black Carbon per millilitre in their urine. Will the powerful coal lobby resist these revelations?


  • Year: 2021
  • Duration: 52 mins
  • Production: Premières Lignes
  • Director: Martin Boudot
  • Available Versions: ENG, FRA
  • Country of production: France


  • Winner of Louise Weiss Award for European Journalism ( in category 'Décryptage'), Special Mention in Impact category at Rory Peck Awards 2022, TV Award in Television Series & Reports Competition at , CineEco Seia - International Environmental Film Festival of Serra da Estrela 2021 (Portugal), Special Mention for the One Hour Selection at Festival FReDD 2021 (France), Silver Award in the category “Energy Transition” at Deauville Green Awards 2021 (France), Nominated for the Albert Londres Prize (audiovisual) 2022, Global Health Film Festival 2021 (UK & Ireland), EcoCup Green Talks 2021 (Russia), Festival du Film Vert 2022 (Switzerland), Krakow International Green Film Festival 2022 (Poland), Dutch Global Health Film Festival 2022 (Netherlands)

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