Air pollution

Air Pollution in Sweden(Least Air-Polluted Country)

Written by Clement Kwan


Sweden (Officially referred to as the Kingdom of Sweden) is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. With a total population of 10.4 million people, it is the largest of the Nordic countries. With a low population density of 25.5 inhabitants per square kilometre, around 87% of Swedes live in urban areas, which cover 1.5% of the entire land area. The highest of these concentrations being in the central and southern half of the country. It borders Norway to the West and the North and Finland to the East. It also connects to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge tunnel across the Öresund. With a total of 450,295 square kilometres or 173,860 square miles. Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe. The capital, as well as the largest city in Sweden, is Stockholm. 

How does Sweden handle Air Pollution

Since 1970, Air Pollution has been a major political concern in Sweden. The ambient air pollution has led to problems such as likelihood of heart disease and lung diseases as well as reduced life expectancy. Some pollutants that have had a direct harmful effect on people’s health include, inhalable particulate matter, ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide and certain hydrocarbons. 

Though on average, the purity and cleanliness of air quality in Sweden are good (at around 84.83%). Other factors like the cold winter periods have drastically affected the pollutants levels to rise. Issues like NOx (Nitrogen Oxide) and PM (Particulate Matter) have now risen as a result of combustion occurring during the winter season and resuspension from the use of studded tires in the springtime. Other contributing factors include: air pollution in Sweden all include cars, energy production and industries, especially coming from the Urban Areas. 

In Sweden, the air quality works in line with the European National Air Quality Standards. The EU (European Union) has adopted two directives with rules surrounding how the Member States should monitor, assess and handle the ambient quality air, monitored through a legally binding system that every member state must follow. However, Sweden is planning to undergo more ambitious environmental targets as it adopts a similar vision called the Swedish National Environmental Quality Objectives. 

In it, contains a section focusing on Clean Air objectives. Which centres around the idea that air should be clean enough not to present a risk to humans, animals, plants’ health and cultural assets. The country carries this out through the municipalities, where they plan to cover a wide range of environmental areas, from unpolluted air and lakes free from eutrophication to the prevention of acidification on running forests as well as farmland ecosystems. 


Sweden has significantly less air pollution than Hong Kong. One being a country and the other being just a small city. We should still take inspiration from the Swedish National Enviornmental Quality objectives, which can help demonstrate and promote to the local community why Air Pollution should have more highlight into it. Even if Hong Kong’s Objectives on the Enviornment and Air Pollution arent’ as extensive as those from Sweden. We should still try and work on becoming more concerned about our environment and take small liberties to reach that goal.