A. Basic informations


Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic. It is also the largest city regarding area (496 km2) and population (1.24 million people in 2011). In terms of environmental quality, Prague has to solve similar issues as other large cities in the world. It concerns mainly the influence of road traffic, noise, water and energy economy, waste management, as well as sustainable land use, care for cleanliness, greenery and valuable natural localities in the city. In its Strategic Plan Prague it declares intention: „Achieving high quality of natural and urban environment with respecting the principles of sustainable development. It stands out for a significant reduction of the current environmental burden and for achieving a balance between housing structures and landscape so as to become a city that is clean, healthy and harmonious.“

The quality of Prague‘s environment is influenced by many factors, out of which the most important is the concentration of economic activities in a relatively small area. This causes the burden with which the inhabitants of Prague have to cope daily and that affects the deterioration of certain environmental parameters. Reducing this burden at the contemporary increase of the quality of life in Prague, i.e. sustainable development of the capital city, is a major challenge for the future direction of the city.


After 1989, there was a significant decrease in emissions of sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, in other monitored pollutants the decrease was less significant. There is still a negative impact of road transport, which is the main source of pollutant emissions. Therefore, emphasis is focused on developing the range and quality of public transport in order to reduce the use of individual car transport.

The decrease in emissions from stationary sources contributed to the fact that in recent years there was some improvement in air quality on the territory of the Capital City of Prague. However, the air quality is largely influenced by the dispersion conditions. Better dispersion conditions in 2008 and 2009, significantly contributed to the reduced volume of harmful substances in the air. But in 2010, the conditions were not as favorable as in the two previous years, so there was some deterioration in air quality parameters. In 2011, there was a further increase of the area of the City where at least one limit value for air quality exceeded. After favorable years 2008 and 2009, when this proportion was less than 10 %, in 2010 it increased to 28 % and in 2011 reached 71 %. Yet it is still a much better value than the period until 2006, when this proportion was above 90 %.

In 2011 the emission limit value for annual average concentration of air-borne dust of fraction PM10 was not on exceeded at any of the monitoring stations, as well as in 2008 and 2009, while in 2010 the limit was exceeded at one station.

The annual average concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) was in 2011 as in 2010 exceeded at five stations. There was also recorded a slight increase in annual average concentrations of NO2 at all monitoring stations in Prague, except one.

The proportion of the area of the City with excessive levels of air pollution is the most affected by concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, represented by benzo(a)pyrene (BaP). Its concentrations are still on the most of the City area over the emission limit, however, it is possible to record a positive shift in the amount of the limit exceedence. While in 2006 the average concentration of BaP at three monitoring stations was 2.1 ng/m3, in recent years the average ranges only slightly above the limit of 1 ng/m3.


Water quality in surface waters has a long-improving condition. For the majority of indicators in 2011 was water classified from the second to fourth grade of five-point rating scale, i.e. the water is slightly polluted to heavily polluted. The water quality of minor watercourses has been long monitored, at present at 38 profiles throughout the whole territory of Prague, the water quality in the river Vltava and Berounka on territory of Prague and its close surrounding area has also been monitored on a long-term basis on 4 profiles.

Drinking water supply reaches a consistently high level. A valuable source of water for the City is waterwork Želivka, from which the water is supplied to Prague by a 52-km long shaft conduit. The waterwork Želivka participated in the total amount of 118.0 million m3 of drinking water produced in 2011 by 73 %. Almost all households are connected to the public water network. Consumption of drinking water in the households from the public water network on a long-term basis declines (in 2011 it was approximately 112 l per capita per day, in 2000 approximately 143 l / capita / day, however compared to 2010 there was a slight increase). Loss of water due to leakages from the network has been successfully reduced from 46 % in 1996 to a value of around 21 % since 2007. Drinking water quality is regularly monitored and complies with domestic and European standards.

About 99 % of households are connected to the sewage system. In 2011, 129.4 million m3 of waste water (it is 100 % of wastewater in Prague) were cleaned, of which 92.4 % in the Central Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP), the remaining percentage in branch water treatment plants on the outskirts of the City. The volume of pollutants which are discharged into surface waters complies with established limits and it is decreased on a long-term basis.

Since 2005, flood protection of the internal City has been provided and consequently, works within other sub-stages are being done. In 2011 the works within stage 0007 – Troja were in progress, which since the end of 2010 has been meeting the criteria of the desired level of protection. There are still remaining parts of 22 Velká Chuchle within stage 0006 Zbraslav – Radotín to complete the entire system. After the completion (expected by the end of 2013), the capital will be protected against high water overflows of the Vltava river and the Berounka river at the level of the great flood in August 2002 with a reserve of +30 cm (with the exception of Zbraslav where the protection is designed for hundred-year water with a reserve of +30 cm).

Landscape, Nature and greenery

Land balance according to registration in the Cadastre of Real Estate for Prague in 2011 documents for the first time after 1990 a decline of the total acreage of built-up areas (8 ha compared to 2010, their share was at the end of 2011 approximately 10.1 % of the total area of the City, however, since 1990, increase of the total 762 ha), but there is also registered another increase in the acreage of so-called „other areas“, namely 88 ha compared to 2010, which is at the expense of agricultural land (in this area there is annual decrease of the area of 93 ha).

Sustainable use of the territory is systematically taken into account in development plans of the City, including the use of old unused objects or surfaces mostly of industrial area (so-called „brownfields“). The positive feature in the City is the annual increase in areas of land used for forestry, i.e. forest areas (in 2011 a growth of 10 ha compared to 2010 and a total of 241 ha since 1990).

On the territory of Prague there is a relatively large amount of valuable natural habitats that are protected by law on different degree of protection and the City of Prague takes an intensive and great care of the protection management and maintenance. At 31st December 2011 on the Prague territory a legal protection of 90 small-scale protected areas had been ensured (of which 8 national natural monuments, 67 natural monuments and 15 natural reserves). It is a wide range of localities from the geological and paleontological ones through botanical, zoological, entomological to forest localities, with a total area of more than 2,200 hectares (about 4.4 % of the total area of the City). Within the creation of the system of Natura 2000, there had been 12 localities of European importance approved by the government regulations on the City territory up to 31st December 2011. Furthermore, on the territory of Prague at 31st December 2011, 12 natural parks had been established. At the same time at 31st December 2011, 27 landmarks had been registered (without any changes compared to 2010) and 197 trees had enjoyed the protection as memorial trees up to 31st December 2011 (within 2011 there was one newly announced memorable tree).

The City is systematically taking care of nature, landscape and greenery also in the case of street alleys, parks and historic parts of forests (with a recreational function) located mainly in the peripheral parts. The aim is to sustain the greenery in the City rather than seeing a decrease. Within the renewal of street alleys of category I, more than 3,527 new trees had been planted from 1995 until the end of 2011. Thanks to the planting of new forest stands, the forest area has increased since 1990 of 241 ha (about 5 %). An important part of the Prague landscape are also rivers and reservoirs. The City has been continuously providing their revitalization projects (projects of Renewal and revitalization of Prague’s reservoirs / from the beginning of the project a total of 35 localities have been emended / and Streams for life).


Prague has long been recording an increase in waste production. In 2011, however, was recorded a sharp decline in their total production, by about 30 % compared to 2010 (4.6 million tonnes in 2011, 6.6 million tonnes in 2010). The decline was caused due to a significant decline in production in the group of construction and demolition waste (approximately 2.2 million tonnes).

Of the total amount of waste production, about 36 % was utilized on the Prague territory whereas e.g. 14.6 % of which was utilized for energy, 11 % was used for ground shaping and 18.3 % was recycled. Waste disposal by landfilling in the city amounted to about 1.6 % of total waste production. Waste incineration without energy utilization is, since 2005, being managed to keep at less than one tenth percent of the total waste production. The greater part of waste is treated outside the Prague region.

Quantity of municipal waste produced from citizens reached in 2011 395.9 thousand tonnes, which is about 312 kg per capita and in comparison with 2010 an increase of 2.8 %, thus a long-term trend of a slight increase continues. The complex system of waste management in Prague is still being developed. The proportion of utilized waste exceeded in 2011 already 86.5 %, whereas 54 % of which was used for energy generation. In 2011 there was a decrease in the long term of so far increasing volume of separated usable components of waste (paper, glass, plastic, beverage cartons and bio-waste) – the total amounted to about 60.9 thousand tonnes (inter-year decrease about 1.9 % caused by a decrease in the volume of separated paper). The collection of hazardous components of municipal waste is still provided (collecting yards, stationary collecting points of hazardous waste, mobile collection, etc.). In 2011 the number of collecting yards already increased to 15 in the City of Prague (from 13 in 2010). The number of sorted waste collection points also remained very high (approximately 3,270 public collection points and more than 1,090 directly in the premises of the Prague Historical Reserve). What has also an important position in the system is the collection of bio-waste (seasonally by using large containers, followed by a stable bio-waste collection points in Prague 10 - Malešice and collecting yards on the Prague territory) and the collection of bulky waste, also through collection points of Prague and bulk containers put into the streets in the City of Prague.


A serious problem of the City remains noise in outdoor environment. Quite the dominant noise source is road transport. According to calculations carried out within the assessment of impact of Land-Use Plan on Sustainable Development of the Capital City of Prague (data from 2009) about 47 % of the population is affected by noise L (dn) greater than 55 dB. Based on the strategic noise maps are identified critical points, which are given priority attention in the planning and implementation of anti-noise precautions. These precautions include the construction of noise barriers, exchange surfaces on selected roads, reconstruction of tram tracks, modernization of rolling stock and others. Precautions to reduce the noise level in 2011, were as in previous years, also performed at Prague airport / Ruzyne. In addition to routine operational, technical and economic measures to reduce aircraft noise it is necessary to state restrictions at night service – a decline in aircraft movements at night time in 2011 compared to previous years.


Transport is a factor significantly affecting the quality of the environment in Prague. Requirements to ensure mobility are balanced by effort to minimize the negative impacts. An important fact is that in 2011 was for the first time since 1990 recorded an annual decrease of transport performance of road transport (by 1 %) despite an increase in the number of registered vehicles. In the framework of sustainable transport, the city develops public transport, aims to complete the circuit (in 2011 southern branch of Štěrboholská radial road in the area of future crossing with the City Circle was put into service) supports reducing fuel and energy consumption in transport, reduces the impact on air quality (including the use of CNG vehicles and electromobility support), noise pollution and, within the economic possibilities, promotes bicycle and pedestrian transport.

Priority of development of public transport is one of the pillars of the principles of transport policy. In Prague and its surroundings public transport is provided by the Prague Integrated Transport (PID), which includes metro, tram and urban and suburban buses, railways, further cableway to Petřín and ferries. The system of public transport in Prague belongs to one of the top quality in the world. In 2011, under the system PID, around 1.2 billion passengers were transported (of which mostly by metro – 48 %), the share of public transport within the division of total transport work was 43 % (23 % walking, cycling has 1 %, road transport 33 % ).

Construction of cycling infrastructure continued, including marking bicycle routes according to Concept development of cycling in Prague up to 2020 from 2010 and a new system of Coding bicycle routes on the territory of the Capital City of Prague from 2006. Within the frame of creating a network of bicycle routes, a total of 530 km of bicycle routes have already been implemented. In 2011, 60 km of bicycle routes were newly marked, especially in the eastern part of Prague, 3 km of bicycle lanes and 4 km of bicycle picto-corridors, 303 bicycle stands were installed and a number of other measures to promote cycling were realized. In 2011 the proportion of cycling was less than 1 % of all journeys in the City with the distinct growth trend. The quota is to achieve at least 5 % by 2020.


Prague also deals with energy management in the context of sustainable urban development. In accordance with the Energy Policy, the City implements numerous activities in the area of energy efficiency. Based on the energy audits measures are carried out to reduce the energy performance of buildings, especially buildings owned and used by the City (offices, schools and social sector). At the end of 2011, there had been 423 measures implemented in the amount of CZK 1.544 billion. Thanks to the implementation of building insulation are achieved energy savings of up to 50 %. The subsidy programme Clean Energy Prague continues to promote the conversion of heating systems in ecological and renewable sources in residential buildings (in 2011 CZK 16.5 million were paid out).

Prague can be proud of interesting projects in the energy recovery. A typical example is the Device for energy recovery of waste Malešice (Pražské služby, a. s.) with a cogeneration unit that produces heat and light for 20,000 households, further the use of biogas in the landfill of municipal waste in Prague - Ďáblice or Central Waste Water Treatment Plant (CWWTP) in Prague - Bubeneč.

Instruments and policies in the area of environment

In managing the care of the environment the Capital City of Prague applies instruments available to it as the city and county at the same time. The traditional tools include measures and processes resulting from the Act – Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC), strategic and territorial planning (Strategic Plan Update 2008, follow-up programme of implementation a strategic concept for the period 2009-2015, Municipal Plan of residential section of the Capital City of Prague, Planning analytical materials) and economic instruments, of which Prague implements e.g. grant management and grant programmes in the field of environment and energy use (Grants for supporting projects to improve the state of environment in the Capital /from 1996/, grant programme Clean Energy Prague /from 1994/). Among modern instruments to promote environmental protection, which the city applies itself, or supports their use in various forms, belong environmental education and public awareness (CEPA), Local Agenda 21, international projects and providing information.

The pillars of the EEA (Environmental education and awareness) in Prague are schools and educational institutions and non-profit organizations, among which most notably environmental education centres (hereinafter as EEC). Prague has long been systematically promoting environmental education centres (EEC) and the eco-centres operating in Prague. Prague has long been systematically supporting environmental education centres (EEC) and eco-centres operating in Prague. Two of them use the statute of environmental education centres of the Capital City of Prague – EEC Toulcův dvůr and EEC of Prague Forests. Many parts of the city are active in the field of voluntary instruments, particularly in the implementation of Local Agenda 21 (16 city districts involved were registered in the national database MA21 at the end of 2011, /including category Applicants/), eventually in the implementation of individual measures for environmental protection in the so-called Green paperwork. Projects of international cooperation are realized at the whole-prague level. Information support for professionals and the public is on the part of the city systematically provided mainly through the Prague Environmental Information System (IOŽIP) and the Territorial Information System (ISU).

Long-term strategic plans for the protection and care of the environment of Prague are formulated in the Strategic Plan of the Capital City of Prague as well as in many policy documents focused on the sub-topics.

In 2011, Prague had available policy documents, action programmes and plans for the area of waste management, energy, air protection, care of greenery, nature and landscape protection, EEA, reduction of noise pollution, water supply, drainage, cycling, etc., which further developed the strategic goals and objectives in detailed elaboration.

Basic characteristics of the city

Fig A2.1 : Map of technical land use (surface type), the state in 2011

Source: ÚRM

Prague is the Capital City of the Czech Republic. Its number of inhabitants and area make it the largest city in the Czech Republic. Its role of the country natural centre of politics, international relations, education, cultural life, and economy just follows from these factors. Prague is not merely a centre of employment opportunities for the Central Bohemia Region, yet also for the whole country; here the international companies and firms doing business in progressive sectors of economy get concentrated. This determines its high economic performance, high average pay and low unemployment rate. Since 2002 the number of Prague inhabitants had been increasing again slightly every year until 2010. The state at the end of 2011 was more than 15.5 thousand inhabitants lower. It was influenced by the inclusion of results of Censuses of Population and Housing 2011 into resulting number of population.

Its cultural and natural heritage makes Prague an attractive metropolis. The city is located on the widely varied terrain of the Vltava River valley. There are precious natural sites located on the city territory as well. Since 1992 the city historic centre has been enlisted on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.

The city is a statutory city according to the Act on the Capital City of Prague. It is administered by bodies of the Capital City – Assembly of the Capital City of Prague, Council of the Capital City of Prague, and the Prague City Hall. For purposes of government administration Prague has been subdivided into 22 administrative districts since 2001; concerning its self-government it comprises of 57 autonomous City Districts having their own elected bodies. Prague forms, at the same time, one of 14 regions of the Czech Republic. Basic characteristics of Prague are listed in the table.

Table A2.1 : Praha – Prague – basic characteristics

Area [km2] 496
Administrative division
  number of City Districts 57
  number of Cadastral Districts 112
Location (City centre)
  geographical latitude 50°05'
  geographical longitude 14°26'
Altitude [m]
  maximum (Zličín) 399
  minimum (Suchdol) 177
Climate (Ruzyně)
  average annual air temperature [°C] 11,1
  annual rainfall [mm] 459,7
Vltava River
  length [km] 30
  flow rate in Velká Chuchle [m3.s-1] 148

Types of land [ha]
  agricultural land 20 250
  forest land 5 099
  water bodies 1 076
  developed areas 5 029
  other areas 18 158
Population - number of inhabitants
as at 31 December 2011
1 241 664
  – females 638 677
  – males 602 987
  average population 1 237 943
  population density per 1 km22 503
Houses, apartments
  number of houses 92 927
  number of apartments 542 168
Gross national product per capita
  – CZK 786 057
  – EUR 31 967
Registered unemployment rate [%] 3,95

* Census 2011 (SLDB) - final data


Sustainability indicators

Indicator Unit 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Source
Annual consumption of fuel and energy per inhabitant after the conversion GJ/capita/year 50,4 49,1 OIM MHMP (2001), údaje za rok 2005: Centrální datový sklad energetických informací (CDS-EI), ÚRM 2006
out of that:
– solid fuel % 4,7 4,0
– liquid fuel % 0,4 0,3
– gaseous fuel % 41,1 40,3
– central heat % 25,0 24,9
– electricity % 28,8 30,6
Annual electricity consumption per capita kWh/capita/year 1137,6 1136,8 1171,3 1192,7 1239,1 1247,8 1230,7 1245,4 1171,9 1195,4 1141,2PRE, ČSÚ, kompil. MHMP
Annual vehicle-kilometres travelled per capita thousand vehiclekm/capita/year 4,85 5,04 5,34 5,58 5,61 5,66 5,77 5,63 5,63 5,83 5,80 TSK-ÚDI, kompil. MHMP
Total number of vehicles per capita number/capita 0,65 0,67 0,67 0,63 0,635 0,64 0,653 0,74 0,732 0,74 0,77 TSK-ÚDI
Length of selected bicycle routes Committee of Prague City Council for cycling, 2011 - Prague Transport Yearbook
– bicycle routes km 180,0 187,7 197,7 230,7 242,3 291,7 317,6 345,6 443,8 504,0
– bicycle paths km 60 61,1 64,3 67,8 91,4 111,8 130,2 136,5 143,3 141,3 2)
– bicycle lanes, bicycle pictocorridors km 1,8 7,8 44,1 53,5 62,8
Air emissions of NOx tonnes/capita/year 0,019 0,018 0,019 0,02 0,017 0,019 0,016 0,015 0,015 0,011 0,010 ČHMÚ, ATEM kompil. MHMP
Air emissions of SOx tonnes/capita/year 0,003 0,0022 0,0022 0,0023 0,0022 0,0019 0,0012 0,0014 0,0013 0,0012 0,0007 ČHMÚ, ATEM, kompil. MHMP
The highest number of exceedances of the PM10 ČHMÚ, kompil. MHMP
– traffic stations number 85
Nám. Republiky
Legerova, hot spot
Legerova, hot spot
Legerova, hot spot
Legerova, hot spot
– background stations number 60
Riegrovy sady
Riegrovy sady
Riegrovy sady
Average household water consumption l/day/capita 137,9 134,7 136,6 130,8 126,8 130 128,7 121,6 114,1 104,1 112,0 ČSÚ
Water quality of surface watercourses ČHMÚ
– BOD mg O2/l 1,74 2,14 2,53 2,21 2,1 2,17 2,34 2,53 2,04 2,2 3,0
– P total μg/l 0,18 0,15 0,14 0,13 0,12 0,1 0,08 0,08 0,08 0,07 0,10
– N as NO3 mg/l 3,17 3,68 2,86 3,1 3,06 2,7 2,31 2,6 2,6 3,59 3,56
Waste water treatment – pollution removed as BOD % 93 1) 96 97,3 97,7 97,85 97,8 97,8 97,9 97,6 97,8 PVK, ČOV, kompil. MHMP
Area of specially protected areas as percentage of the City total area % 4,3 4,3 4,3 4,3 4,4 4,4 4,4 4,4 4,4 4,4 4,4 MHMP, ÚRM, IMIP
Waste production per capita – in total tonnes/capita/year 2,2 3,2 2,9 3,15 3 2,93 3,78 4,17 4,89 5,43 3,81 2011 MHMP, 2007–2010 CENIA, 2005-2006 VÚV TGM, kompil. MHMP
out of that:
– municipal waste tonnes/capita/year 0,402 0,45 0,418 0,475 0,409 0,44 0,474 0,488 0,64 0,627 0,667
– hazardous waste tonnes/capita/year 0,225 0,309 0,181 0,105 0,16 0,132 0,097 0,08 0,088 0,169 0,088
– household waste tonnes/capita/year 0,22 0,24 0,25 0,26 0,27 0,276 0,285 0,32 0,308 0,308 0,320
Percentage of reused waste (in total) % 8,7 22,2 29,7 38,8 36,6 54,2 49,3 71 52,8 40,4 36,4 2011 MHMP, 2007–2010 CENIA, 2005-2006 VÚV TGM, kompil. MHMP
– of which used to energy production % 1,2 7,0 6,2 4,7 4,1 3,6 3,8 6,3
Percentage of waste disposed by landfilling % 10,3 18,5 11 7,6 7,9 7,25 7,9 9,5 3 1,5 1,6 2011 MHMP, 2007–2010 CENIA, 2005-2006 VÚV TGM, kompil. MHMP
The number of respiratory diseases - hospital admissions per 1,000 inhabitantsNumber per 1,000 inhabitants14,8 15,3 16,2 15,4 17,6 14,7 15 14 17,7 13,5 13,8 ÚZIS, kompil. MHMP
Life expectancy at birth
(men / women)
years 73,6 / 79,073,7 / 78,9 73,7 / 79,274,1 / 79,674,7 / 80 75,2 / 80,475,6 / 80,775,9 / 80,776,3 / 80,876,3 / 81,2 76,5 / 81,7 ČSÚ

Notice: Further information on indicators of sustainable development of the City of Prague are available in electronic yearbook Prague Environment 2011

1) The methodology to determine the total length of bicycle routes for 2011 partly differs from the one used for 2010 and previous years and provides a lower final value.