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Berlin's air is getting cleaner and cleaner

Berlin's air has been sung about, but that was a long time ago. And back then it was far from dirty. But there is reason for hope. As has now been measured, it has never been so clean since measurements began in 1975. New limits, however, could prove to be a challenge.

Berlin's annual report on air quality shows that the amounts of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter in the air have decreased sharply. Although the limit value of 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre was repeatedly exceeded by a wide margin until 2019. In the course of the same year, however, the measured values improved continuously. Now it is better than it has been since measurements began: a 16 per cent reduction in nitrogen dioxide was recorded at the six measuring points.

The greatest decrease was achieved on the busy Leipziger Straße between Potsdamer Platz and Alexanderplatz: While the average nitrogen dioxide pollution in Berlin decreased by 6 to 7 micrograms per cubic metre, a drop of a whopping 15 micrograms was measured on Leipziger. This is the first time the city has complied with the limit values. The preliminary data, which was already collected in May of this year, could thus be confirmed. Based on the data in spring, the diesel driving ban was lifted on four streets in Berlin. The environmental administration is optimistic that the ban will remain in place, as the decrease on the affected roads was very significant at 30 micrograms per cubic metre. As far as particulate matter is concerned, the city is also on the right track: since 2015, it has complied with the targeted EU values and was able to reduce the pollution once again last year.

The compliance with the values shows that the measures introduced are having an effect: Diesel driving bans for diesel vehicles up to and including Euro 5, electrification of the bus fleet, 30 km/h speed limit and generally less traffic due to home offices.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is already threatening new trouble. The WHO has introduced stricter limits and it can be assumed that the EU will also follow these values in the future.  That would mean, however, that the limit values in Berlin would be exceeded on 106 days a year. Then it is only a question of time before diesel driving bans are imposed again. Then it will probably not remain with just a few stretches of road.

Don't be surprised by this. Download the Green-Zones app and stay up to date on all changes and tightening in Berlin!