Air quality

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Air measuring station and information stand at Postplatz in Dresden , 1990

The air quality (air quality) describes the nature of the air based on the proportion of the air impurities contained therein.

According to WHO Deputy Director General Flavia Bustreo , air pollution is "one of the main causes of illness and death".

The air quality is determined by numerous limit or guide values ​​specified in laws or ordinances. The air quality is monitored with immission measurement networks, the measurement stations of which can be located on busy streets (hot spots) or in forests (background values).

For the air quality in rooms of buildings, see indoor air .

Measuring networks

To monitor air quality, the responsible authorities operate measuring networks that consist of a different number of individual measuring stations. The individual measuring stations work i. d. Usually independent of each other and can also have different equipment within a measurement network. Modern individual measuring stations transfer the measuring results fully automatically to the central computer.

Measurement networks in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

The following list shows selected measurement networks in Germany, Austria and Switzerland:

City Country Surname Number of measuring stations October 2012 (for comparison July 2006) Remarks link
Berlin ( Germany ) B ERLIN Lu ftgüte me ssnetz (FLOWER) 16 (21) In operation since 1975; Traffic and background stations FLOWER
Bremen (Germany) B remer L uft UE Monitoring S ystem (BLUES) 10 Beginning in 1987 with one station; Traffic and background stations BLUES
Lower Saxony (Germany) Lower Saxony air hygiene monitoring system 25th LÜN
North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) Lu ft q ualitätsüberwachungs s ystem of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW LUQS) 62 (74) Traffic and background stations; supplemented by time-limited measuring stations (MILIS) LUQS
Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany) Z entrales I mmissions ME measured N etwork of Rheinland-Pfalz (ZIMEN) 33 Including traffic and background stations CIMENS
State of Salzburg ( Austria ) SA lzburger L uftgüte I nformation S ystem (SALIS) 12 first computer-aided measuring network (Salis I) installed in 1984; current monitoring network (Salis IV) put into operation in 1995 Salis
Switzerland Na tional Be obachtungsnetz for L uftfremdstoffe (navel) 16 Beginning in 1978 with eight stations NAVEL
Switzerland Carbosense 4D 300 (since 2017) CO 2 measuring system Carbosense 4D
Dunzweiler measuring station of the ZIMEN network (Rhineland-Palatinate)

Assessment of air quality

For some years now, the criteria for assessing air quality in Europe have not only been set nationally, but Europe-wide. This is done in so-called guidelines or regulations . The limit or guide values ​​specified in these guidelines or ordinances must then be complied with within the periods specified therein. For example, the EU's fine dust directive stipulates that from January 1, 2005 the daily mean value of fine dust ( PM10 ) is 50 µg / m 3 and may be exceeded on a maximum of 35 days per year. The main regulations of the EU are summarized in the Air Quality Directive (Directive 2008/50 / EC). If the limit values ​​are not observed, sanctions can be imposed.

While a limit value must be strictly adhered to, i. H. may not be exceeded, a target value indicates a maximum value that can usually be achieved at a certain point in time. Target values ​​are often not strictly binding.

There is no uniform air quality index for assessing air quality. Examples of generally understandable criteria for assessing air quality are the Vienna Air Quality Index and the Air Quality Index of the Federal Environment Agency .

Vienna air quality index

The Vienna Air Quality Index contains an evaluation scheme which, through the use of smileys in appropriate colors and an explanation of the meaning, makes it very easy to evaluate the air quality at measuring stations in Vienna (Austria).

Air quality assessment scheme based on the Vienna Air Quality Index

The assignment of measured air values ​​to the pollutant index is carried out using a simple evaluation scheme:

rating index Ozone , O 3 , 1 hour mean, µg / m 3 Fine dust , PM10, 24h average, µg / m 3 Nitrogen dioxide , NO 2 , ½ hour mean, µg / m 3 Sulfur dioxide , SO 2 , ½ hour average, µg / m 3 Carbon monoxide , CO, 8h mean, mg / m 3
Very good 1 0 - 60 0-20 0 - 45 0 - 50 0 - 2.5
Well 2 61 - 90 21 - 35 46-100 51-85 2.6-3.5
Satisfying 3 91-130 36 - 50 101-140 86-120 3.6-5.0
Unsatisfactory 4th 131-180 51-100 141-200 121-200 5.1-10.5
Bad 5 181-240 101-150 201-400 201-500 10.6-20.5
Very bad 6th from 241 from 151 from 401 from 501 from 20.6

Air quality indices Baden-Württemberg

An expanded current approach comes from Baden-Württemberg . This federal state uses a daily and an annual air quality index to inform the population in a generally understandable way in the school grading system about the short and long-term development of air quality. The selection of air pollutants and the associated evaluation system take into account the legal limit values , the effects on people and their relevance for the environment . A corresponding data service has been online since February 2007. The annual values ​​can be called up for the past 10 years. For the conurbations, representations are available for the period since 1985.


In Germany, the Federal Environment Agency and the state offices take regular measurements and evaluate them. In 2013, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides (NO x ) primarily influenced the air quality, which then had an impact on human health. The values ​​for NO x had remained almost the same as in the previous year. The limit value (40 µg / m³ as an annual mean value) was exceeded by half of all urban measuring points close to traffic. The fine dust value was exceeded at three percent of the measuring points. However, the WHO gives stricter recommendations than are set in Germany. An annual mean of 20 µg / m³ is recommended for PM10 (particles below 10 µm); in 2013 this value was exceeded by 51% of all German measuring stations. It is concluded that 47,000 deaths as a result of high levels of particulate matter. Eight percent of the measuring stations did not comply with ozone: 120 µm / m³ averaged over three years on a maximum of 25 days a year. The general exposure to ozone in 2013 is estimated to be low. Above all, the reduction in emissions of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides in recent years has contributed to this, so no ozone alarms had to be triggered this year. Nevertheless, at the end of the year the EU Commission presented the “Clean Air for Europe” program of measures.


  • Uwe Hartmann, Jutta Geiger: Determination and evaluation of the air quality on streets. ( PDF )
  • Sylvia Reckel, Manfred Aöschner, Marion Stock: Lichen as an indicator of air quality. In: Biology in Our Time. 29 (6), pp. 364-370 (1999), ISSN  0045-205X
  • V. Dietze, M. Fricker, M. Goltzsche, U. Kaminski, E. Schultz: Air quality measurements in German health resorts - Part 2: Results of one-year series of measurements in the period from 2000 to 2004. In: Hazardous substances - keeping the air clean . 67 (5), pp. 197-205 (2007), ISSN  0949-8036
  • Thomas P. Streppel: Individual legal protection options in air quality law. In: Journal for European Environmental and Planning Law. (EurUP) 2006, p. 191, ISSN  1612-4243
  • Thomas P. Streppel: Air Quality Framework Directive and its Daughter Directives. ( Memento from September 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  • Thomas P. Streppel: Subjective rights in air quality law - fundamental decisions of the BVerwG. In: Journal for Environmental Law. (ZUR) 2008, p. 23.

See also

Web links

Air measuring station of the Hessian HLUG (2016)
Wiktionary: Air quality  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Air quality monitoring  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. These are the dirtiest cities in the world. In: May 13, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2017 .
  2. Air measurement program using the example of the city of Wuppertal
  3. Kris Wallburg: "Useless" - DWD criticizes Apple's health warnings . In: Macwelt . ( [accessed on November 28, 2018]).
  4. LUBW: Air Quality Index. Retrieved January 2, 2019 .
  5. Federal Environment Agency: Air quality in 2013 . In: UmweltMagazin , March 2014, page 7.