Finland — The pollution content of the air in the centre of the city and also elsewhere in the Greater Helsinki Area is still exceptionally high, turning the air grey. Since Tuesday, unusually high amounts of fine particles have weakened the air quality in Helsinki’s streets, and the airborne pollutants are not expected to disperserapidly.
The current amount of airborne pollutants is high. The levels of fine particles presented as micrograms per cubic metre measured in Helsinki and Espoo between April 24th and April 27th. The red curve indicates the readings measured at the Mannerheimintie measurement station in Helsinki, while the green curve denotes the concentrations at the Luukki station in rural Northern Espoo.
On Thursday, the air quality assessments conducted by the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council (YTV) indicated that pollution levels were high, and according to the air quality index ratings, the daily air quality was “poor” at several measurement stations.
A part of the elevated particle emissions originates from the pollution that comes from fires in Russia and the Baltic, carried over to Finland by the wind. However, in the Greater Helsinki Area, the airborne dust is caused mainly by the sand that is spread on icy streets in wintertime. On the other hand, also the ozone levels in the air have increased. According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), the south-easterly winds are to continue, and therefore, the airborne particles are not expected to decrease very soon.
At FMI’s Kumpula measurement station in Helsinki, the particle levels were fivefold compared with the normal amount of airborne dust. Research scientist Ari Karppinen reports that the majority of the particles are organic coal, while also the concentrations of nitrate and potassium are high.