Wood Smoke Stories

Wood smoke pollution in the Alps

I live in a small village in the Alps at 800 m altitude. Every evening from October until the end of April, very high levels of fine particles are present in the air. This makes it impossible for me to air the house in the evening, or to switch on the extractor fan, which has to take in outside air.

In Switzerland, this problem is well known, but nothing is done about small chimneys. People who have chimneys sometimes mistake them for incinerators, so high concentrations of heavy metals end up in the soil...

The only solution seems to be to move to a relatively higher altitude, as pollution stagnates in the Alpine valleys during the winter. Traffic and industry are all too often wrongly blamed…

Particle filters approved by our Federal Office for the Environment have been around for 15 years, but are still not compulsory! In short, people would rather burn their health than pay a little more for clean heating, and the state does nothing about these externalities, believing that public health spending cuts take second place.