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Poor air quality in Germany: Bavaria and Hamburg threaten new driving bans

The index, which assesses transport in terms of environment, health and infrastructure, shows Bavaria to be clearly catastrophic in almost all aspects. Although Hamburg is making efforts in climate protection, it must do much more for the health of its citizens.

The study "Bundesländerindex Mobilität & Umwelt" ("Federal State Index Mobility & Environment") by the research institute Quotas, which was developed on behalf of the Transport Alliance Pro-Rail Alliance, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) and the German Road Safety Council (DVR), has now published its latest results, which assess the federal states in terms of their efforts to achieve sustainability in transport. In the five categories of climate protection, air quality, road safety, noise reduction and land consumption, it became clear that Bavaria is doing far from enough. The Free State of Bavaria refrains from formulating a climate protection target for transport and simply refuses to disclose its CO2 emissions. However, the gradual reduction of emissions is stipulated by the Federal Government in order to comply with the international climate targets by 2030. Bavaria's intransparency regarding the values is therefore incomprehensible. In contrast to Bavaria, the city-state of Hamburg is far ahead in terms of CO2 emissions. It is the only state in Germany to achieve the specified values and has even set itself an even more ambitious goal than the government's target of reducing emissions by 45%.  
Contrary to expectations, however, Hamburg comes off very badly overall in the study, finishing third last. This is partly due to the fact that the Hanseatic city has the worst air quality in Germany. Nowhere else is the concentration of nitrogen dioxide higher. The particulate matter levels are after all the second highest in Germany. Hamburg is also clearly in last place when it comes to noise pollution, which is as harmful to health as poor air quality.  Berlin is even louder, but since Hamburg does not provide any concrete political information on how noise pollution can be reduced, the Elbe metropolis ranks last in the index.  
It is completely incomprehensible that, despite this situation, there is no environmental zone in Hamburg that bans old engines and thus ensures cleaner air and less noise. Diesel engines are only banned in Hamburg in two street sections in the north of the city. The latest results of the index show what consequences this has for the health of the Hanseatic citizens. The introduction of diesel driving bans has also been discussed in Bavaria for years, but the Free State of Bavaria refuses to implement them and still found the air pollution control plans disproportionate at the beginning of 2019. In the meantime, the Free State has been sued by Deutsche Umwelthilfe, but this did not have any consequences at first.  
With regard to other European countries, which are setting up increasingly complicated driving bans in order not to exceed the limits set by the EU, one can only hope that the federal states will give in quickly. Otherwise Germany may soon face a much harsher fate than regular environmental zones and diesel driving bans. Of course nobody wants such zones, but they are probably the lesser evil compared to the chaotic regulations of other EU countries. Otherwise we may soon have various zones with different rules in Germany, more car-free Sundays, or - as discussed by the Greens - no more burners in our inner cities from 2030.  
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