Air pollution - Why care? (Sweden)
- Air pollution
Air pollution continues to have adverse effects on health, vegetation and cultural heritage objects.
High concentrations of particulate matter (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide constitute the greatest air quality problems in Sweden’s population centres. Several municipalities exceed environmental quality standards for PM10, which correspond to EU’s threshold value. The Swedish environmental quality standard for nitrogen dioxide, which is more stringent than the EU threshold value, is also exceeded in several municipalities. The previous declining trend for many substances appears to have levelled off. Concentrations of PM2.5 are relatively low and the EU threshold value is not exceeded anywhere in the country. The highest concentrations of PM2.5 are found in southern Sweden.
Particulate matter (PM10) is the air pollutant that causes the most severe health problems in Sweden’s population centres. High concentrations can impair respiratory functions and affect normal lung development. According to Swedish studies, particulate matter is believed to cause between 3 000 and 5 000 premature deaths annually in Sweden, which corresponds to a shorter average life span of about 6–12 months.