Still high air pollution on the Norwegian border

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Air pollution on the Norwegian-Russian border is still considerable, even though the impacts are mostly seen on the Russian side, shows a new report from NILU. The emssion of SO2 from Nikel and Zapoljarnij in Russia are about five times more than the emission from the entirety of Norway.

The Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) has been measuring air pollutants close to the border between Norway and Russia since 1974. In 1988 the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) asked NILU to plan and carry out a comprehensive investigation of air quality, precipitation chemistry, and various environmental impacts.

The study was started in October 1988. Data from the period April 2003-March 2004 show that the Norwegian National long term objective value for SO2 was exceeded at the monitoring station in Svanvik in Norway. Norwegian (and EU) limit values were not exceeded in Svanvik.

Still high air pollution on the Norwegian border

Measurement programme

From 1990 a joint programme for studying air quality and precipitation chemistry has been carried out on each side of the Norwegian-Russian border.

During the period April 2003-March 2004 air quality was measured at one station, precipitation chemistry data were collected at two locations and meteorological parameters were measured at three locations on the Norwegian side of the border. On the Russian side air quality and meteorological parameters were measured at one and two locations respectively. The station in Maajavri broke down during the autumn 2001.

Air quality

SO2 has been measured continuously at Svanvik in Norway and in Nikel in Russia. At Viksjøfjell in Norway the sampling of SO2 was stopped at the beginning of August 1996. To register the high short term peak concentrations during episodes continuous measurements of SO2 are necessary.

A typical feature of SO2 concentrations at the monitoring stations is represented by low long term average concentrations whereas the peak values (24-hour averages or shorter) are well above air quality guideline values.

Since the beginning of the 1990’s SO2 concentrations in Svanvik and Maajavri have not changed significantly. In Nikel the concentration has increased, especially in 1997 and 1998, due to increased wind frequency from the smelter to the measuring station. SO2 emissions in Nikel were at the lowest in 1994 and increased in 1995. There are no emission data available later than 1995. Emission data after 1993 are scarce and must only be used with great care.

Still high air pollution on the Norwegian border

Limit values

The EU air quality limit values for SO2 (and other components) were implemented in Norway on October 4 2002.

Still high air pollution on the Norwegian border

During the last 10 years (1993-2003) the 24 hour limit value for SO2 (125 µg/m3, 3 allowed exceedances a year) have been exceeded 4 out of 10 years (last time in 2000) in Svanvik. The 1 hour limit value has not been exceeded since 1991. In 2003 the SO2 1 hour value was above 350 µg/m3 during 5 hours. The limit value is allowed to be exceeded 24 times during a year.

At the former Norwegian station Viksjøfjell and the Russian stations in Maajavri and Nikel exceedances of the EU limit values and the Norwegian National long term objective value are much more frequent and the concentrations are much higher than in Svanvik, especially at the Russian stations.

Heavy metals

The metals Ni, Cu, Co and As are emitted from the smelters in Nikel and Zapoljarnij. The concentrations of these elements in precipitation were lower during the summer season 2003, but considerably higher during the winter season 2003/04 compared to the previous year in Svanvik.

In Svanvik deposition of heavy metals decreased during the summer season 2003 and increased during the winter season 2003/04 compared to the previous year. During the winter season 2003/04 the deposition of the heavy metals Ni, As, Cu and Co were considerably lower than during other winter half years.

Still high air pollution on the Norwegian border

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