In 2018, we launched the project “NO2 Citizen Science” and with the help of a Europe-wide network and local support created an overview of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in ambient air. It now includes over 6000 measurement points from 16 European countries. The results show: the harmful diesel exhaust NO2 is a major threat in highly frequented urban areas across the country. And that's not all! There are also too less official monitoring stations and those that already exist are often not located in the most polluted places. Therefore, our measurements and the comparison with the values of the official stations are an essential part of the project. A summary of the main results is provided in our report.
The main cause of high NO2 pollution in urban air are diesel vehicles. People who live or work along busy roads are particularly affected. Unfortunately, this also applies in the immediate surroundings of health care facilities, schools, kindergartens and facilities for the elderly, where the measurements detected very high levels of NO2. At the same level as children breath, i.e. approximately one meter, the air is often even more contaminated with harmful diesel emissions than at the official measurement height of between 1.5 and 4 meters.
New limit values for protecting environment and health?
Currently, the EU-wide binding annual limit value for nitrogen dioxide is 40 µg /m³. According to the latest World Health Organization recommendations, published in September 2021, the limit value for NO2 should be max.10 µg /m³ as an annual average - to protect both the environment and health! Our updated map now shows all exceedances of this recommended limit value measured within the project. The EU Commission is currently working on a revision of the European Air Quality Directives and an adaptation of the limit values.