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100,000 euros willed to city for street dust study

The City of Vantaa has received a 100,000 euro bequest from the estate of a recently deceased resident with the stipulation that it be used to help solve the annual springtime problem of dusty streets.

Lakaisukoneen harja ja pölyä
Air quality nosedives each spring as clean-up crews sweep city streets. Image: Laura Valta / Yle

Every year, towns and cities in Finland are plagued by dust from gravel spread on roads during the winter and studded winter tyres grinding against the tarmac. Not only is it dirty and annoying, it can and does also cause breathing difficulties for many people.

The terms of the will of a benefactor, whose name has not been reported, specify that 100,000 euros left to the City of Vantaa must be used for field studies of the problem, such as trials to develop more effective clean-up methods. It also stipulates that the city must use the funds to supplement, not replace its own research spending.

A significant problem

According to a 2013 report by Finland's National Institute for Health and Welfare, street dust can be linked to some serious health issues. It found indications that this annual air quality problem in the capital region has a role in some cases of pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart failure.

Not so common

Bequests to local governments from residents who have passed are not very common. This is only the fourth that the City of Vantaa has received in the past decade. All were made by women.

Before this latest bequest, the last one Vantaa received was close to 230,000 euros included in a resident's will for use in combining nature, art and exercise in city parks as a part of child development activities. As a result, last autumn, Vantaa opened a special playground featuring play equipment and a basketball court, as well as works of art by both professionals and street artists.

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