Oslo to assess measures to improve air quality

Oslo Municipality is investigating what it can do to improve air quality and avoid exceeding limits on hazardous particulate matter, it announced Tuesday.

Oslo to assess measures to improve air quality
The city's local auhtority will be looking into increasing the air quality in Oslo by reducing the number of hazardous particulates. Pictured is barcode in Oslo. Photo by Kamil Klyta on Unsplash

Many associate Norway with fresh mountain air, and some will have even heard anecdotes of the rich and famous paying to fill their homes with air from the country. However, the country’s capital, Oslo, is working to improve air quality, the city’s local authority has announced.

Measures are being mulled over to prevent new limits for hazardous particulate pollutants from being exceeded. New limits for both coarse-grained and fine-grained particulate matter were introduced at the turn of the year.

Coarse-grained pollution is mostly dust and particles from the city’s roads. The limit for this has been exceeded several times this winter, the Urban Environment Agency said.

The agency said that it believed that better routines for cleaning and dust mitigation techniques, which aim to reduce the amount of coarse-grained particle pollution, could be a way of ensuring the city’s air quality remains within acceptable limits.

The main source of fine-grained particle pollution is wood-burning stoves. One option that Oslo could adopt would be a ban on non-clean-burning fireplaces. Bergen Municipality adopted a similar ban last year.

READ ALSO: How Oslo’s proposed parking reform could cost residents and visitors

The Urban Environment Agency said that it was too soon to say whether Oslo would introduce a similar ban but that it was working on mapping emissions from wood-burning to help it target measures more effectively.

“We are working to map the emissions from wood-burning so that it will be easier to find and implement targeted measures,” Sirin Stav, environmental councillor in Oslo, told public broadcaster NRK.

The councillor added that a reduction in exhaust fumes from cars means that emissions from wood-burning has emerged as one of the most significant contributors to fine-grained particle pollution.

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Oslo shooting suspect remanded in custody for four weeks

The suspect behind a weekend shooting in Oslo that left two dead and 21 wounded was remanded in custody for four weeks on Monday.

Oslo shooting suspect remanded in custody for four weeks

Zaniar Matapour will have no contact with the outside world until July 25, Oslo District Court ruled. The 43-year-old is accused of killing two men and wounding 21 other people when he opened fire near a gay bar in central Oslo in the early hours of Saturday morning, amid celebrations linked to the city’s Pride festival.

Norway’s domestic intelligence service has described the attack as “an act of Islamist terrorism” and said Matapour had “difficulties with his mental health.” Norwegian police said they were still investigating Matapour’s motive.

He has been charged with “terrorist acts”, murder and attempted murder, but has so far refused to be interrogated by police. According to his lawyer, he fears investigators will manipulate video recordings of his questioning.

Matapour, a Norwegian of Iranian origin, will undergo a preliminary psychiatric evaluation to help determine the state of his mental health and whether he can be held legally responsible for his actions.

He had been known to Norway’s PST intelligence service since 2015, with concerns about his radicalisation and membership of “an extremist Islamist network”.

READ ALSO: Norway pays tribute to victims of Oslo shooting

Police said they were examining several possible theories, including an attack motivated by ideology, unstable mental health, a hate crime against the LGBTQ community, or a combination of factors.

The PST said it did not pick up on any “violent intent” when its services interviewed him last month.

Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl said there would be a review into the police and PST’s handling of the case.

Nordic ministers visited the site of the attack on Monday, saying in a joint statement that they “stand together with the LGBTI community and against all forms of violence”.

Oslo’s Pride parade, which had been scheduled to take place for the first time in three years due to the Covid pandemic, has been postponed indefinitely.