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World Air Quality Report 2018: Kuopio ranked 6th in air quality within European cities

According to the World Air Quality 2018 report by IQAirVisual the regional city of Kuopio had the 6th cleanest air quality within the European cities included in the report in 2018.

The report studied the air quality in 3,000 cities all over the world. Northern Europe, Iceland, Finland, Estonia, Sweden and Norway had the best air quality among the areas studied. The results are in line with the previous results published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Environment Agency (EAA).

The air quality was evaluated by measuring for fine particulate matter, PM2.5, in the air, which lead showed the average pollution levels in every given city. Fine particulate matter is widely regarded as the pollutant with the most health impact of all commonly measured air pollutants worldwide and in Finland as well.

The WHO recommends an annual mean exposure threshold of 10 μg/m³ to minimize the risk of health impacts from PM2.5.  In Kuopio the annual mean exposure has been measured at around 3-6 10 μg/m³. The highest exposure levels in Europe are to be found in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Macedonia, where the levels are about tenfold in comparison to the levels in Kuopio.

The results from Kuopio were collected from the monitoring station located in Kasarmipuisto and should be representative of the average level of air quality downtown. However, the level of fine particulate matter varies somewhat locally in Kuopio. The results from Kasarmipuisto are nevertheless quite well representative of the average pollution level in the city.

A compact urban structure and district heating have lowered the particle pollution levels in Kuopio

The fine particulate matter in Kuopio is mainly generated by long-distance transport, which brings air pollutants to Kuopio from Central Europe and even from Russia. Local emissions in the other hand are typically a result of small-scale wood burning and local traffic.

In Kuopio, the relatively dense urban structure and the fact that most real estates are heated with district heating have lowered the amount of fine particulate matter and improved the air quality as well. Property-specific heating solutions are relatively rare. Small-scale wood burning such as burning wood in fireplaces, saunas and in baking ovens is, however, relatively common.

The city of Kuopio has actively participated in research projects on fine particulate matter and their effects

The city of Kuopio has, in recent years, also actively participated in projects where information about safe and environmentally friendly wood burning methods have been introduced to the residents. In addition, the city has taken part in various projects conducted by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and the University of Eastern Finland, where exposure to fine particle matter and emissions have been studied.

You can read the whole report here.