SSo is everything really all right now with the nitrogen oxide measuring stations? So it can happen, if you read the news of the past week, when Environment Minister Svenja Schulze presented the results of a report: Most air monitoring stations would be correct.
There had been reasonable doubt. For decades nobody had paid special attention to air quality measurement stations. But since the German environmental aid nationwide, in every city complains about driving bans in which the limit of 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) per cubic meter of air is exceeded, the stations, their measurements and their locations have become a political issue. Does Germany have to measure air pollutants as close to the exhaust as possible? And are not the measuring stations too close to the road?
Last November, F.A.S. a series of measuring stations that did not fulfill an important requirement of the European Union: the minimum distance to the next intersection. The directive states: As far as possible, the measuring stations must be set up at least 25 meters from the nearest intersection, so that the measured values are not artificially driven up by the approach traffic before the intersection, but apply to a longer route on the road. Even a superficial research, however, showed some measuring stations, which did not even keep this distance – also reported the F.A.S., that several transport and environment ministries, especially under green leadership, locked against a review of the measuring stations.
A review, however, was a few weeks later but then commissioned by TÜV Rheinland, last week, Environment Minister Svenja Schulze presented the results – and with a good deal of self-confidence: 66 out of 70 examined measuring points showed no abnormalities, she said, calling other views "an unnecessary Insecurity of the people ". Who reads the opinion of the TÜV, must not necessarily share this impression.
Some problematic NO2 measuring stations
Example Mainz: There are only in the state capital a measuring stationat which the nitrogen oxide limit is exceeded, it does not comply with the distance specification. The F.A.S. last fall, but among the 21 problematic monitoring stations in this review, which are particularly considered, it does not even appear. It is only on page 184 that the authors of the report are bashful: in March it was rebuilt, now it keeps the minimum distance to the intersection. It will be a coincidence, because such short periods are not representative of pollutant measurements, but in the monthly reports published since then, no more exceedances of the limit value were found for this station.
Example Berlin: Here the station at the Silbersteinstraße in Neukölln shows the highest nitrogen oxide pollution in the whole city – and this station is not right, as even the authors of the report admit. There has not been a suitable location at a greater distance to the intersection, it says in the report. The walkway does not look any different 20 meters further. Could the measuring station really not be anywhere else? The TÜV does not answer questions about alternative locations: it was not his job to test other locations. A remarkable sentence, where the EU allows deviations from the minimum distances only if it can not be otherwise.
(tTTranslate) Svenja Schulze (t) TÜV (t) European Union (t) German Environmental Aid e.V. (t) EU (t) TÜV Rheinland (t) Nitrogen dioxide