Pollution data paints dirty image of German cities

Excessive levels of pollution were recorded in the majority of tests conducted on busy German streets in 2015, government data revealed Friday.

Levels of nitrogen dioxide, which can cause breathing difficulties and irritate the eyes, were above the set safety limit at 60 per cent of the testing facilities stationed on congested roads, the German Environment Agency (UBA) said.

Neckartor in Stuttgart and Landshueter Allee in Munich topped the list of dirty traffic hotspots, with average nitrogen dioxide levels there measuring 87 and 84 micrograms per cubic metre respectively - over double the government-set limit of 40 micrograms per cubic metre.

Other testing stations in Cologne, Kiel, Hamburg and elsewhere recorded values of over 60 micrograms per cubic metre.

The European Commission launched an inquiry into pollution in German cities last year because fine particulate matter levels in that country regularly exceeded the bloc's 50-microgram-per-cubic-litre limit.

The dirty air in German cities is largely attributed to the large number of diesel cars on the roads there, with residents and authorities unable to breathe easily, particularly since the country's beloved Volkswagen car brand admitted that its diesel motors had been rigged with software to trick emissions tests.

"Old diesel automobiles must disappear from our cities step by step," UBA President Maria Krautzberger said.

Last update: Fri, 29/01/2016 - 16:09
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