Air Quality Visualization

The biggest air pollution problems are experienced in town and city centres and close to major sources of pollution, such as busy roads.

Some people are especially sensitive to air pollution – the elderly, young children and people with existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma, can all suffer when air pollution levels rise.

Now for the first time residents of Estonia can see in real time air quality in Tallinn, Tartu, Narva, Kohtla-Järve and decide for themselves whether it’s a good time to go for a run, ride a bicycle or walk with a kid in the city centers.

Estonia Tallinn


Air Pollution Banding Value Accompanying health messages for at-risk groups and the general population
At-risk individuals* General Population
Low 1-3 Enjoy your usual outdoor activities. Enjoy your usual outdoor activities.
Moderate 4-6 Adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, who experience symptoms, should consider reducing strenuous physical activity, particularly outdoors. Enjoy your usual outdoor activities.
High 7-9 Adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce strenuous physical exertion, particularly outdoors, and particularly if they experience symptoms. People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Older people should also reduce physical exertion. Anyone experiencing discomfort such as sore eyes, cough or sore throat should consider reducing activity, particularly outdoors.
Very High 10 Adults and children with lung problems, adults with heart problems, and older people, should avoid strenuous physical activity. People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Reduce physical exertion, particularly outdoors, especially if you experience symptoms such as cough or sore throat.

* Adults and children with heart or lung problems are at greater risk of symptoms. Follow your doctor's usual advice about exercising and managing your condition. It is possible that very sensitive individuals may experience health effects even on Low air pollution days.

Health & air pollution

Clean air is essential to our health and to the environment. But since the industrial revolution, the quality of the air we breathe has deteriorated considerably - mainly as a result of human activities. Rising industrial and energy production, the burning of fossil fuels and the dramatic rise in traffic on our roads all contribute to air pollution in our towns and cities which, in turn, can lead to serious problems for both health and the environment.

Human toll for poor air quality is worse than for road traffic accidents, making it the number one environmental cause of premature death in the EU. It also impacts the quality of life due to asthma or respiratory problems. Air pollution causes lost working days, and high healthcare costs, with vulnerable groups such as children, asthmatics and the elderly the worst affected. The direct costs to society from air pollution, including damage to crops and buildings, amount to about €23 billion per year, and the external costs from health impacts alone are estimated at € 330-940 billion (3-9% of EU GDP).

In October 2013, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified outdoor air pollution as a cancer-causing agent (carcinogen). In its evaluation, the IARC concluded that outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer and is also linked to an increased risk for bladder cancer.

The IARC has previously classified many components of outdoor air pollution as carcinogens, including diesel engine exhaust, solvents, metals, and dust. But this is the first time it has classified outdoor air pollution – as a whole – as a carcinogen. It also classified another major component of outdoor air pollution – called particulate matter – as a carcinogen on its own. Particulate matter is a combination of extremely small solid particles and liquid droplets that are found in the air. Particulate matter can include things like dust or smoke, as well as chemicals. The IARC evaluation showed an increasing risk of lung cancer with increasing levels of exposure to outdoor air pollution and particulate matter.



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