Air quality

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Since it was first established, NILU has studied problems related to local and regional air pollution. This research covers everything from the development of management systems for urban air quality, to systems that make the connection between greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, to studies of how indoor and outdoor air quality may affect artefacts that make up our shared cultural heritage.

Air pollution has the potential to affect the environment, human health and ecosystems at all scales. It can cause adverse health effects, local and regional environmental damage and global problems such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and deterioration of the ozone layer.

In Europe it is estimated that the lifespan of individuals who live in urban areas has been shortened by one year because of particulate air pollution. An individual’s lifespan may be reduced by as much as three years in the most polluted areas of the world. In China, for example, 700,000 people are expected to die prematurely each year due to air pollution.

Norway also faces its own challenges related to air quality, albeit not at the same scale as more polluted regions of the world. Bergen, Oslo, Trondheim and other Norwegian cities experience days where pollution levels are high, often for extended periods. Bergen and Oslo in particular have been subjected to repeated wintertime exceedances of air pollution limits.