No decline in particle pollution

Long-term progress:
Particle emissions have remained more or less unchanged throughout the 2000s.
Short-term progress:
Emission amounts vary year by year, primarily in accordance with winter weather conditions.
Progress in relation to targets:
For the time being, no emission targets have been set for particles.

Particle emissions in Finland (1,000 t/a)

Source: Finnish air pollutant inventory to the CLRTAP. SYKE.

Small-scale wood combustion the major source of fine particles

Comparable statistics on particle emissions have only been compiled since 2000, with respect to total emissions and the share of fine particles. During this period, no significant emission trends have been observed. In comparison to the 1980s, particulate emissions have decreased in line with those of other emissions.

Most particle emissions, about 60% of them, originate in energy production and some 25% in transport. The greatest source of traffic emissions is the wear and tear of road surface caused by car wheels and winter sanding. The resulting dust in the streets, especially in the spring, accounts for some 20% of total particle emissions in Finland.

As regards smaller particles, with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5), small-scale wood combustion is the most significant source of emissions by far. The fireplaces of saunas, cottages and homes account for more than one half of PM2.5 emissions in Finland today.

Fine particles are the most harmful of all, since they can penetrate the lungs all the way to the alveoli. Toxic heavy metals or hydrocarbons can bind to the particles. In the lungs, these are harmful to the health. It is estimated that such particles cause 1,300 premature deaths and more than 600 new cases of chronic bronchitis each year in Finland.

For the time being, no national or international emission targets or limits apply to particle emissions. The new EU National Emission Ceilings Directive, currently under preparation, will set emission limits for fine particles (PM2.5) as of 2020.


  • Finnish air pollutant inventory to the CLRTAP. Finnish Environment Institute. 2013.
  • CAFE. Ilmansuojelu (Air pollution control) 4/2005: 9–31.


Published 2015-11-19 at 14:35, updated 2020-08-14 at 12:49