Ensuring better air quality is of high relevance not only when it comes to complying with binding air quality standards but also in order to ensure healthy air for everybody. The EU-wide binding nitrogen dioxid limit value of 40 µg /m³ is exceeded in many places. According to the European Environment Agency (EEA Air Quality Report 2018), in Germany 13,100 people died prematurely due to air pollution with NO2 in 2015. In the opinion of many medical experts, the limit values for nitrogen dioxide are too low. A study published by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in March 2018, pointed out that in 2014, at concentrations well below the limit value, around 6,000 premature deaths, 437,000 diabetes cases and 439,000 asthma cases can be attributed to NO2 exposure in the air we breathe.
Many hundreds of thousands of people who live or work on busy roads, go to kindergartens or schools suffer from the diesel exhaust poison. Especially for older people, pregnant women and particularly for children, this pollution is a health hazard. Alarmingly high values were measured in Germany in front of health facilities, schools and kindergartens. The air at children's height (1 metre) is often even more polluted with harmful diesel exhaust gases.
With 247 traffic-related measuring stations in 147 German cities, the official measuring network covers only a fraction of potentially polluted areas. The vast majority of the cities and municipalities dispose of no data on air quality. This lack of information is considered a Europe-wide problem.
With the support of citizens and cooperating NGOs we want to close these gaps. DUH already gathered experience in initiating NO2 Citizen Science measurements at more than 1,400 sites in Germany. We are using diffusion tubes to measure NO2 pollution – a method that is also used by public authorities. The measurement accuracy is proven and fulfills international standards. The results that give evidence of the high degree of NO2 pollution are published in our map.