Air quality is continuously monitored in Helsinki

Air quality in the metropolitan area is among the cleanest in European metropolitan areas. Air quality measurements show that air pollutants in the metropolitan area have generally decreased or remained stable in the long term despite the strong increase in population, traffic volumes and energy production.

Emissions from energy production have been reduced by co-production of electricity and district heating and efficient cleaning equipment. Traffic emissions in Helsinki have been reduced not only due to developments in vehicle technology but also due to the city’s active contribution to the development of public transport and the promotion of cycling and walking. The city has also developed and introduced effective road dust control methods to keep road dust concentrations below the limit value.

According to statistics by the World Health Organization (WHO), Finland has the best air quality in the world. In Finland, the average fine particle content is 6 micrograms per cubic metre, which is the lowest country-specific figure in the world. Other countries that have reached almost equally low levels include Estonia, Sweden, Canada, Norway and Iceland.

Good air quality in Finland is explained by the country’s distance from large concentrations of emissions, the relatively small population, advanced emission reduction technology and weather conditions. Coastal areas, in particular, are often windy, which dilutes pollution. Finland also lacks strong UV radiation that produces photochemical impurities.

HSY measures air quality continuously at 11 measurement stations in the metropolitan area. 

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Impact air quality

Air quality is better in Helsinki than in many cities in Europe, but levels of air pollutants in the air can rise significantly here, too. Emissions from transport, road dust and air contaminants from wood burning are released into the air at breathing altitude and may pose serious risks to human health.

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