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Berlin Environmental Atlas

03.09 Traffic-related Air Pollution - Hydrocarbons

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Motor vehicle hydrocarbons contribute significantly to the formation of ground-level ozone called "summer smog" in Berlin.

The hydrocarbon benzol is particularly hazardous to health (cf. Klippel, Jäcker-Küppers 1997). Benzol has been proven to cause bone marrow damage, leukaemia, and lymphome in human beings (cf. Kalker 1993).

The great majority of both total distance travelled and of pollutant emissions occur on the 1,600 km long primary road network. Approximately 250,000 residents live on these streets (cf. ACCON, IVU 1996). The secondary road network is more than twice as long, but has only about 20 % of total kilometers travelled and a correspondingly smaller amount of motor vehicle emissions. The pollutant load is strongly influenced by the type of surrounding building structures; some areas of the secondary road network have loads clearly above the general background level.

Legal Regulations and Limit Values

Great reductions in domestic heating and industry-related emissions were achieved both by regulations of the Federal Pollution Control Law (Bundesimmissionsschutz-Gesetz - BlmSchG), and from closures of outdated facilities in East Germany (cf. Map 03.01 and 03.03, SenStadtUmTech 1997a and 1997b). Motor vehicle traffic has not shown any similar development. A major cause of this unsatisfactory situation are the EC Guidelines stipulating waste gas requirements for motor vehicles. These EC Guidelines have not yet been oriented towards traffic development and its resulting pollution, nor towards environmental and health policy objectives.

Only in 1990 was a legal basis established by Section 40 Para. 2 of the Federal Pollution Control Law (BImSchG) for the consideration of traffic restrictions at high levels of traffic-related air pollution. In 1991 the German Federal Environmental Agency (Bundesumweltministerium) proposed a regulation with concentration values for nitrogen dioxide, and the traffic-related carcinogenics benzol and diesel particulates "for the protection of health from deleterious environmental effects resulting from air pollution". The Upper House of the German Parliament (Bundesrat) passed the proposal for the 23rd Regulation on 18 March 1994 after making numerous changes. The 23rd Regulation came into effect with other administrative regulations on 1 March 1997. The concentration values contained in the Regulation are not directed at reducing acute danger; they are directed towards controlling the dangers of longterm exposure to high yearly values. It is different with measures based on the "winter smog regulations" of Section 40 Para. 1 of the Federal Pollution Control Law and the Ozone Regulations of Sections 40a-e and 62a of the Federal Pollution Control Law. The objectives of these measures are to prevent acute dangers resulting from short-term air pollution peaks in large to very large areas (cf. Klippel, Jäcker-Küppers 1997). Both pollution situations allow for short-term traffic restrictions.

Table 2 gives an overview of limit values specified for 1) Ozone Regulation in Section 40a-e of the Federal Pollution Control Law; and for 2) nitrogen oxide, diesel particulates, and benzol in the 23rd Regulation.

Tab. 2: Limit and Concentration Values of the 23rd Regulation and Section 40a-e of the Federal Pollution Control Law (Ozone Regulation)

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

The 21st Regulation (BlmSchV) of 7 October 1992 order that a fuel vapor recovery system to limit hydrocarbon emissions be installed at every large fuel station. Table 3 gives the deadlines for this installation. Section 44 of the Federal Pollution Control Law defines Berlin as a study area and ranks Berlin in the "from 2,500 m³" category with shorter deadlines.

Tab. 3: Deadlines Given by the 21st Regulation (BlmSchV) for Installation of Fuel Vapor Recovery Systems

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

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