Data provided by
1 Anonymous contributor
|1||B Friedrichshain - Frankfurter Allee|
|2||B Mariendorf - Mariendorfer Damm|
|3||B Mitte; Brückenstraße|
|4||B Neukölln - Nansenstraße|
|5||B Wedding - Amrumer Str.|
|7||B Neukölln - Karl - Marx - Str. 76|
|8||B Neukölln - Silbersteinstr.|
|10||B Grunewald (3.5 m)|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
5:17, Sep 26
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good||33 US AQI||PM2.5|
|Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors|
|Enjoy outdoor activities|
|Thursday, Sep 24|
Moderate64 US AQI
|Friday, Sep 25|
Good38 US AQI
Good35 US AQI
|Sunday, Sep 27|
Good26 US AQI
|Monday, Sep 28|
Good19 US AQI
|Tuesday, Sep 29|
Good32 US AQI
|Wednesday, Sep 30|
Good35 US AQI
|Thursday, Oct 1|
Moderate53 US AQI
|Friday, Oct 2|
Moderate59 US AQI
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The air in Berlin and the surrounding area is polluted by a variety of particulate and gaseous air pollutants, which have a negative effect on the health of the inhabitants of Berlin.
Extremely harmful to the respiratory tract is PM2.5, this particulate matter includes particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 µm (0.0025 mm). Since the introduction of the environmental zones, a significant reduction in the concentration of particles in Berlin's air has been seen. Sporadically higher values in recent years are due to meteorological conditions. These meteorological conditions include long-distance atmospheric transport, the heating behavior of the city's inhabitants and regular inversion weather conditions.1
In addition to the particulate matter PM2.5, the coarser particulate matter PM10 is also emitted during burns or other conversion processes. The average annual limit value has been observed over the last 16 years, although the measurements of PM10 show strong fluctuations from year to year. These irregularities for this particulate matter also depend on meteorological conditions.2
Other pollutants emitting from diesel and gasoline motorized vehicles are nitrogen oxides (NOx). Especially, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is one of the most common pollutants in the air. This pollutant generally does not exceed the average guideline values, however on busy roads, the value is occasionally exceeded.3
When we talk about ozone (O3) as a pollutant, ground-level ozone is meant. In order to produce O3, it takes an energy supply, the sun, to transform ozone precursors, such as NOx and volatile organic compounds into ground-level ozone. The anthropogenic precursors are emitted into the air by industrial and traffic-related combustions, but also solvents and over-fertilized soil.4
The air quality in Berlin is generally considered "good" according to the Air Quality Index (AQI). According to the 2019 World Air Quality Report, the average particulate matter level (PM2.5) for Berlin in 2019 was 9.7 μg/m³. As a result, the average air pollution in Berlin was just below the World Health Organization's (WHO) PM2.5 particulate matter guideline of 10 μg/m³. This means that you can usually practice sports in the fresh air in Berlin without worrying and you can also ventilate regularly with a clear conscience.
Berlin's air quality was in 2019 better than in Germany, where an annual PM2.5 average of 11 μg/m³ was recorded in 2019. As a result, Berlin was one of the 36.4% of European cities that complied with the WHO guidelines for PM2.5 pollution, at 9.7 μg/m³.
In 2019, according to the IQAir ranking, Berlin was ranked 14th among the cleanest capitals in the world, behind Copenhagen and Lisbon. In the IQAir ranking, one can also see that Berlin has performed better in the past compared to other German cities, such as Stuttgart, Cologne and Frankfurt. These cities recorded moderate or good values in 2019. These major cities also failed to meet the WHO guideline value for more than two months, while Berlin met this level for seven months in 2019.
A closer look at the development of the air quality over the period of 2019, one can see that in the colder months the air quality is displayed as a "moderate", due to the high level of particulate matter pollution in Berlin. The fluctuation of the Berlin AQI between the colder and warmer months is due to various direct and indirect influences of the weather. Because of the cold, the population tends to heat more, resulting in a higher use of fuels. Traffic also contributes to the formation of winter smog in a conurbation such as Berlin with exhaust gases and tire abrasion.5 The cold winter air is heavier and denser than the polluted air of the emissions. As a result, the cold air is pushed under the dirty warm air, this does not allow anymore sufficient exchange between them. This behavior is known as thermal inversion and is the first step in the direction of the formation of smog. In particular, the pollutants ozone (summer smog), nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which play an important role in the Berlin air, were identified as the primary culprits in the formation of smog.6
On the real-time map for air quality in Berlin, the measured values of the air quality measuring stations in Berlin and the surrounding area are displayed on an up-to-date basis. With the switchable wind and air pollutant heat map, the user can get further information about the general distribution of air quality in Berlin. The real-time map shows the wind movements and it is possible to see whether the pollutants at a location originate from a local source or have reached Berlin by atmospheric long-distance transport. By tracing the origin of the pollutant, it is then also possible to make air quality forecasts based on long-distance transport.
At the time of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) East Berlin recorded very high air pollution, which however did not receive much attention. Air quality was only improved after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 through reduced use of lignite and the decommissioning of the coal-fired power plants and industrial complexes of the GDR. At the turn of the century, no significant difference in air quality was found between the former eastern and western regions.7
In Berlin, as in other major German cities, it was decided to restrict the use of vehicles with certain emission standards in the so-called "environmental zones" ever since 2008. Since the introduction of this regulation, the particulate matter share of traffic in air pollution in Berlin has decreased. There is no clear success in the case of nitrogen oxides, as they continue to be mainly emitted by car traffic. However, transport primarily has only an effect on local air quality, which is why the regional efficiency of the environmental zones depends on their size.8
Construction machinery also contributes to the local air pollution in Berlin. The use of construction machinery without emission-reducing measures leads above all to exceeding the daily values. By upgrading the machinery in the construction industry, it can be ensured that Berlin not only complies with the annual average, but the local daily averages comply with the directive values too.9
Another measure, to improve air quality in Berlin, is reducing the speed to 30 km/h (18.64 mph) on 80% of the roads. This directive not only improved Berlin's breathing air, but also increased the overall traffic safety and reduced the noise. The air quality improvements with a maximum speed of 30 km/h are related to the reduced exhaust gas levels during the acceleration process, which is yielded at a constant and lower speed.10
The recorded air pollution in Berlin is largely a consequence of the high traffic. Especially on Frankfurter Allee and Karl-Marx-Straße, two busy roads in Berlin, are higher values recorded more often than on less busy roads.
Another high proportion of air pollution in Berlin comes from the industrial and commercial sectors. Most of the emissions come from the "heat, mining and energy" industry. But the continued production of waste and the production of various food and feed also contribute to the emissions in Berlin.11
Particularly worrying in Berlin is the high nitrogen oxide (NOx) content in the breathing air. The pollution of this pollutant originates mainly from transport, industry and power plants. However, building heating contributes to the pollution too. The city of Berlin is therefore calling for further actions at local and global level in order to be able to comply with the limit value within the EU.12
Various studies have shown that air pollutants can affect the respiratory system in various ways and consequently lead to various diseases. One of these diseases is the triggering of pre-existing bronchial asthma. Asthma symptoms are more common with short- or long-term exposure to particulate matter. Exhaust gases from transport, industry and agriculture also increase the likelihood of respiratory infections, especially at high concentrations of PM2.5 and NO2. For children that experience both pre- and postnatal PM2.5 exposure, it seems to correlate with a higher probability of getting infections in the lungs during their early childhood. The concentration of PM2.5 from exhaust gases associated with lung cancer was also investigated. The results showed an increased mortality risk with lung cancer if there was high PM2.5 air pollution in the environment. But already the relative risk of developing lung cancer is more likely with higher exposure of PM2.5, or NO2 or NOx.13
In collaboration with Greenpeace, IQAir AirVisual has calculated an approximate number of deaths due to air pollution for larger cities. In Berlin, this figure for the first half of 2020 is estimated at 2,900 deaths due to poor air quality.
As many studies in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak have shown, the virus outbreak showed more severe consequences around PM2.5-contaminated regions than in less polluted regions. Even before Covid-19, it was known that air-polluting particles help in the distribution of a virus in the body and in the weakening of the immune system. As the article "Covid-19 and air pollution" indicates, this also explains the higher outbreaks in poorer communities, as there is usually higher air pollution found there.
The City of Berlin has taken various measures to improve air quality over the last few years. In their air pollution control plan, they focus mainly on measures in the transport sector, which is a major source of emissions. The first package of measures wants to make a shift within the Berlin Transport Authority (BVG) towards electric vehicles and, in addition, increase the financial support for electric vehicles. However, not only the electromobility will be supported, but also natural gas vehicles are planned to be promoted.14
In order to relieve the burden of the individual passenger transport in general, the city of Berlin plans to further expand public transport and make it more attractive to the general population. This is done by introducing various measures, such as the acceleration of public vehicles and a corresponding tariff adjustment. Further relief is planned to be made by the expansion of the footpath and cycle path infrastructure.15
A monetary incentive to use the BVG will be made by increased parking fees. Additionally, a nationwide expansion of parking management is intended to reduce traffic and thus emission levels, especially on the main roads. But also, the parking and transfer possibilities for a multi- or intermodal transport system are planned to be improved in order to enable the habitants of Berlin to get around more efficiently.16
Another option to improve air quality in Berlin is the use of appropriate soot and particulate filters in the car in order to reduce the pollutants of the exhaust gases already in the emission process. The use of these particulate filters is prescribed in Berlin for certain vehicle types, due to the established environmental zones.
In the industrial sector, the general amount of greenhouse gases is limited in Berlin and the surrounding area by the introduction of limited allowances for greenhouse gas emissions. The allowances are traded at an European level (cap and trade) if necessary. This is one of the many environmental policy instruments used to reduce emissions at a more global level.17
+ Article Resources
 Langfristige Entwicklung der Luftqualität: Feinstaub PM2,5 / Land Berlin. (n. d.). Land Berlin.
 Senatsverwaltung für Umwelt, Verkehr und Klimaschutz. (2019, December). Luftreinhalteplan, 2. Fortschreibung / Land Berlin. Land Berlin. P. 42 ff.
 Ibid. P. 39 f.
 Ozon. (2020, February 11). Umweltbundesamt.
 Tobler, H. (2016, November 24). Luftverschmutzung im Winter besonders gefährlich. wetter.com.
 Vergin, J. (2014, März 3). Dicke Luft. Deutsche Welle.
 Berliner Zeitung. (2019, November 24). Die schmutzige Luft in der DDR.
 Umweltzonen in Deutschland. (2020, March 3). Umweltbundesamt.
 Tempo 30 - Berlin.de. (n. d.). Land Berlin.
 AVISO GmbH & IE Leipzig. (2016, June). Erstellung der Berliner Emissionskataster Industrie, Gebäudeheizung, sonstiger Verkehr, Kleingewerbe, sonstige Quellen, Baustellen - Schlussbericht, Juni 2016.
 Senatsverwaltung für Umwelt, Verkehr und Klimaschutz. (2020). Wie gut ist die Berliner Luft? / Land Berlin. Land Berlin.
 Schulz, H., Karrasch, S., Bölke, G., Cyrys, J., Hornberg, C., Pickford, R., Schneider, A., Witt, C. & Hoffmann, B. (2018). Atmen: Luftschadstoffe und Gesundheit. Pneumologie, 1–51. P. 37-45.
 Senatsverwaltung für Umwelt, Verkehr und Klimaschutz. (2019, December). Luftreinhalteplan, 2. Fortschreibung / Land Berlin. Land Berlin. P. 140.
 Ibid. P. 142-144.
 Ibid. P. 146 f.
 EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). (2017, February 16). Climate Action - European Commission.