Berlin Environmental Atlas

03.03 Nitrogen Oxides - Emissions and Pollution (Edition 1997)

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Development of Nitrogen Oxide Pollution

Since 1979, nitrogen oxide measurements in Berlin have been carried out by the Federal Health Agency in the west part of the city at the Schloss Strasse in Steglitz and by the District Hygiene Inspectorate Berlin in the east part at the Parochial Strasse in the Borough Mitte. As part of the Berlin Air Quality Monitoring Network (BLUME), nitrogen oxide measurements were also begun at a station in Wedding in 1984.

While the near traffic measurement at the Schloss Strasse is strongly effected by changing traffic conditions and allows no statement as to trends, the measurements at the low traffic Parochial Strasse, which are representative for medium-level inner city pollution, had shown until 1987 an average annual increase in the concentration of about 3.5 % (from 35 to 45 µg/m³ in 8 years). Since 1987 both here as well as at other measuring stations in the city display an reduction (c.f. Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: The Yearly Average of Nitrogen Dioxide 1979 - 1995

[Statistical base of this Figure is also available as Excel-File (MS-Excel is required).]

The introduction of denitrifying measures in the large power and heating works (c.f. Tab. 2) as well as the introduction the regulated three-way catalytic converter in passenger cars are reasons for the decrease. The shift to vehicles with catalytic converters in Berlin has advanced especially quickly. In 1995, the share of cars equipped with catalytic converters in Berlin lay at 65 %.

Tab. 2: Commissioning of Desulfurization and Denitrification Plants in the Berlin Heating Power Plants (HKW) and Power Plants (KW) (as of August 1996)

[Table is also available as Excel-File (MS-Excel is required).]

In comparison to the very positive development with respect to sulfur dioxide (c.f. Map 03.01 SenStadtUmTech 1997a), the pollution development of nitrogen oxides has been unsatisfactory. The reason is the constant growth in traffic volume. About half the near ground nitrogen oxide emissions come from heavy transport vehicles and buses. For these vehicles, substantial improvements to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and other pollutants have only taken effect since 1 October 1996. Due to the expected increase in traffic, it must be assumed that the contribution of the polluter group traffic will be decisive in future for the development of nitrogen oxide pollution in the Berlin air.

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