We can impact air quality by making small changes

Air quality in Helsinki is quite good for a large city, but air pollutants can cause harm to health here, too. Traffic, small-scale wood burning and road dust are the main sources of air pollutants. However, reducing air pollutants is possible. With our daily choices, we can impact the air quality we share and reduce exposure to harmful emissions.  

What we are breathing?

01 Traffic emissions

Traffic poses health risks by reducing air quality and generating noise. Exhaust emissions, such as fine particles and nitrogen dioxide, as well as road dust reduce air quality, especially near busy streets.

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Tips on reducing traffic emissions and exposure to them

  • Avoid busy streets at peak times.
  • Air your home through windows from the courtyard side or outside peak traffic times.
  • Choose cycling or walking on shorter journeys.
  • Choose public transport whenever possible.
  • Take advantage of carpools and car-sharing opportunities.
  • If you are considering buying a car, pay attention to its emissions – an electric car is often a good choice.

02 Road dust

Forty per cent of pedestrians suffer from symptoms caused by road dust in the spring. Studies show that one of the most effective ways to reduce road dust is to replace tyres with friction tyres.

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Remember these tips to reduce the impact of road dust on you and your family

  • Select a quieter and cleaner route during the road dust season.Vaihda ja huolla kotisi ilmansuodattimet säännöllisesti
  • Replace and maintain the air filters in your home regularly.
  • Do not use a leaf blower to remove sand.
  • Choose cycling or walking on shorter journeys.
  • Choose friction tyres in winter and change to summer tyres on time.
  • Employ proactive driving. It is kinder to tyres and streets and reduces vehicle emissions.
  • Move your car in good time on streets that are to be cleaned during street cleaning.

03 Wood burning and fine particles

In addition to heat and a cosy atmosphere, wood burning in household fireplaces causes fine particles, which pose a serious environmental health risk. In the metropolitan area, wood burning causes more fine particle emissions than energy production or traffic.

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Tips for reducing wood burning emissions

  • Only burn dry and clean wood
  • Light the fire correctly and ensure that it has enough air
  • Do not burn trash. Milk cartons, cardboard and paper should be recycled, not burned in a fireplace
  • Talk to your neighbour if smoke coming from their chimney disturbs you
  • Keep firewood in a dry and well-ventilated wood shed
  • Make sure that your fireplace and smoke flue are swept regularly