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The air pollution map for Bergen is easily accessible from the main city page. Just by selecting the link, the user will be taken to a page dedicated to air quality.
The first thing to notice will be the number of coloured circles which appear on the map. The significance of the various colours is explained in the legend at the foot of the page. The number which appears inside the circle is the US AQI reading which is a good indication of the air quality. It is calculated by measuring the levels of up to six of the most common pollutants found in the air. The findings are then used as a metric when comparing air quality in cities around the globe. It is endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The higher the figure, the worse the air quality. Similarly with the colours, the darker the colour, the worse the air.
Briefly looking back at the city page, it can be seen that Bergen was enjoying a period of “Good” air quality during August 2022. The main pollutant measured was PM2.5 with a level of 3.6µg/m³. This falls well within the 5 µg/m³ target figure as recommended by the WHO.
Once the air pollution map is opened, a set of four options will appear on the left-hand side of the screen when viewed in full-screen mode. They can each be deactivated if and when required.
The first choice shows the position of all the ground-level air monitoring stations in and around the city. They appear as the coloured discs as mentioned in the first paragraph. Depending on the number of discs, some may appear to be overlapping but they soon separate once the map is expanded.
The second option shows the position of any wildfires that may be burning in the vicinity. This can be very useful when option four is consulted at the same time. Option four shows the direction of the prevailing winds so an educated guess can be made as to whether the drifting smoke will affect the city or not.
Option three can be the most dramatic as it can change the colour of the background of the map. The background colour reflects the current air quality as it takes on similar colours to those seen in the legend at the foot of the page. Some may find this overall colour confusing so once it is deactivated, the map reverts back to a normal set of colours.
Over on the far right-hand side of the screen can be seen a table which shows the ranking of world cities, according to their levels of air pollution. This can be very interesting when comparing one city with another.
Directly below the map can be seen the number of stations within the area that provide the air quality data. Currently, there are four stations which are all controlled and operated by the government.
These stations are ranked in order of their levels of pollution. Currently, the dirtiest area of the city is around the Loddefjord station with its US AQI reading of 23. This is still classified as being “Good” air quality though.
Below this list is another which shows the order of the most popular station and shows the number of followers it has. Currently, this is the same as the most polluted one, the Loddefjord station with just under 1,000 followers.
There are two main ways of finding out where the highest levels of pollution are. The first is by looking at the discs and choosing the one with the darkest colour and/or the highest number. The second, and possibly the easiest way, is to look just below the air pollution map for Bergen where the list of the most polluted stations appears. These are listed in descending order with the most heavily polluted listed first.
The source of the air pollution is not specifically shown on the air pollution map for Bergen.
Particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ozone are the air pollutant components that contribute most to disease and death. In order to reduce air pollution, it is particularly important to introduce measures against traffic emissions and wood-burning smoke.
Because wood burning is a significant source of air pollution. More than 50 per cent of suspended dust/particle emissions (PM10) are estimated to come from wood burning. Date driving has been introduced in Bergen municipality. Residents have also been asked not to fire the wood stove if they have the opportunity. In addition, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration has showered the roads with magnesium chloride to bind airborne dust and requested the Norwegian Port Authority to move the supply ships docked in the centre of Bergen.
Dated driving, a ban on the use of diesel vehicles and increased tolls are immediate measures that can be implemented to reduce traffic on days with high air pollution. Several of the measures have been tried in Bergen and Oslo, among others, and are often followed up with supplementary measures such as information campaigns and free public transport.
Air pollution can be defined as particles, gases and substances in the air that are harmful to people and/or ecosystems. The particles are most often classified depending on their size into inhalable particles (PM10) and fine particles (PM2.5).
In terms of health, particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), as well as carbon dioxide from motorised traffic, is the most prominent air pollution problem in Norway.
Road traffic and wood burning are the major local sources of air pollution in Norway. Traffic emits both exhaust and wear and tear from vehicles’ brakes, tyres and roads. Other sources are emissions from industry, energy production and heating homes with solid fuel. Maritime traffic also contributes to air pollution, especially in coastal areas near major maritime traffic routes.