Indicator air

Sulphur dioxide immissions

Higher concentrations of sulphur dioxide (SO2) can have especially negative effects on the respiratory tract; asthmatics and people with chronic respiratory diseases are particularly at risk. SO2 is also toxic to plant life (phytotoxic). Moreover, it is an important precursor in the formation of acid rain. Sulphur dioxide emissions result from the combustion of sulphur-containing transport and heating/process fuels.

Assessment of the state
good good
Assessment of the trend
positive positive
Immission limit value 2019: 30 Immission limit value 2018: 30 Immission limit value 2017: 30 Immission limit value 2016: 30 Immission limit value 2015: 30 Immission limit value 2014: 30 Immission limit value 2013: 30 Immission limit value 2012: 30 Immission limit value 2011: 30 Immission limit value 2010: 30 Immission limit value 2009: 30 Immission limit value 2008: 30 Immission limit value 2007: 30 Immission limit value 2006: 30 Immission limit value 2005: 30 Immission limit value 2004: 30 Immission limit value 2003: 30 Immission limit value 2002: 30 Immission limit value 2001: 30 Immission limit value 2000: 30 Immission limit value 1999: 30 Immission limit value 1998: 30 Immission limit value 1997: 30 Immission limit value 1996: 30 Immission limit value 1995: 30 Immission limit value 1994: 30 Immission limit value 1993: 30 Immission limit value 1992: 30 Immission limit value 1991: 30 pre-alpine/Jura range 2019: 0.14 pre-alpine/Jura range 2018: 0.25 pre-alpine/Jura range 2017: 0.2802 pre-alpine/Jura range 2016: 0.26 pre-alpine/Jura range 2015: 0.35 pre-alpine/Jura range 2014: 0.37 pre-alpine/Jura range 2013: 0.382 pre-alpine/Jura range 2012: 0.403 pre-alpine/Jura range 2011: 0.37 pre-alpine/Jura range 2010: 0.53 pre-alpine/Jura range 2009: 0.46 pre-alpine/Jura range 2008: 0.47 pre-alpine/Jura range 2007: 0.59 pre-alpine/Jura range 2006: 0.55 pre-alpine/Jura range 2005: 0.78 pre-alpine/Jura range 2004: 0.67 pre-alpine/Jura range 2003: 0.84 pre-alpine/Jura range 2002: 0.7 pre-alpine/Jura range 2001: 0.71 pre-alpine/Jura range 2000: 0.64 pre-alpine/Jura range 1999: 0.81 pre-alpine/Jura range 1998: 0.91 pre-alpine/Jura range 1997: 0.79 pre-alpine/Jura range 1996: 1.51 pre-alpine/Jura range 1995: 1.4 pre-alpine/Jura range 1994: 1.64 pre-alpine/Jura range 1993: 1.88 pre-alpine/Jura range 1992: 2.43 pre-alpine/Jura range 1991: 3.64 rural 2019: 0.27 rural 2018: 0.348 rural 2017: 0.4555 rural 2016: 0.33 rural 2015: 0.36 rural 2014: 0.37 rural 2013: 0.46 rural 2012: 0.633 rural 2011: 0.53 rural 2010: 0.69 rural 2009: 0.7 rural 2008: 0.78 rural 2007: 0.71 rural 2006: 0.78 rural 2005: 1.09 rural 2004: 0.98 rural 2003: 1.17 rural 2002: 0.98 rural 2001: 0.94 rural 2000: 1.48 rural 1999: 1.39 rural 1998: 1.65 rural 1997: 1.8 rural 1996: 2.38 rural 1995: 2.34 rural 1994: 2.15 rural 1993: 2.92 rural 1992: 3.31 rural 1991: 4.32 suburban 2019: 1.1 suburban 2018: 1.255 suburban 2017: 1.3254 suburban 2016: 1.16 suburban 2015: 1.62 suburban 2014: 1.508 suburban 2013: 1.58 suburban 2012: 1.899 suburban 2011: 2.43 suburban 2010: 2.76 suburban 2009: 2.62 suburban 2008: 3.36 suburban 2007: 3.21 suburban 2006: 4.36 suburban 2005: 4.35 suburban 2004: 3.72 suburban 2003: 5.42 suburban 2002: 6.11 suburban 2001: 4.44 suburban 2000: 4.73 suburban 1999: 5.4 suburban 1998: 7.09 suburban 1997: 7.34 suburban 1996: 7.15 suburban 1995: 7.18 suburban 1994: 6.72 suburban 1993: 9.24 suburban 1992: 11 suburban 1991: 13.64 urban 2019: 1.215 urban 2018: 1.1765 urban 2017: 1.27745 urban 2016: 1.33 urban 2015: 1.925 urban 2014: 1.8955 urban 2013: 2.394 urban 2012: 3.03 urban 2011: 2.945 urban 2010: 3.385 urban 2009: 3.605 urban 2008: 4.355 urban 2007: 4.955 urban 2006: 5.02 urban 2005: 5.535 urban 2004: 5.84 urban 2003: 7.05 urban 2002: 6.73 urban 2001: 6.7 urban 2000: 7.04 urban 1999: 9.25 urban 1998: 12.13 urban 1997: 11.38 urban 1996: 12.38 urban 1995: 12.84 urban 1994: 13.395 urban 1993: 15.78 urban 1992: 20.08 urban 1991: 22.66

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: FOEN
Comment

Sulphur dioxide pollution has decreased by more than 95% since the mid-1980s and is now at a low level at all measuring stations (significantly below the immission limit level of 30 μg/m³). This positive development is a direct consequence of corrective measures initiated in the 1990s. Two major reasons behind the reduction achieved in SO2 emissions were the decrease in the sulphur content of heating oil and the changeover to gas that came about in response to strict emission limit levels.

International comparison

The member states of the EU also measure sulphur dioxide immissions and calculate corresponding indicators. Switzerland has lower sulphur dioxide concentrations than its neighbouring countries. (Switzerland has no thermal power plants, relatively little shipping and burns almost no coal or heavy oil).  

Method

The current status and development of air pollution throughout Switzerland are measured and recorded by the National Air Pollution Monitoring Network (NABEL), which is jointly operated by the FOEN and EMPA (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology). It comprises 16 measurement stations distributed throughout the country, which provide data relating to all the most important pollution situations. For the assessment of sulphur immissions, data are collected from NABEL stations with permanent measurement cycles.

Basis for assessment of the trend
Targeted trend Initial value Final value Variation in % Observed trend Assessment
Decrease Average 1991-1993 Average 2017-2019 (1) -93.73%, (2) -89.14%, (3) -89.82%, (4) -91.57% (1) Decrease, (2) Decrease, (3) Decrease, (4) Decrease positive
(1) urban, (2) suburban, (3) rural, (4) pre-alpine/Jura range
 
Last updated on: 15.05.2020

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