“State environmental agency finds serious quality deficiencies at measuring station” – so read at the end of last year (rbb24). What at first reads like a damning verdict for technologically new measuring methods raises various questions when considered more comprehensively: What is the standard for the quality of an air measuring device? What quality standards must be maintained if public money is spent on them?
Our air knows no boundaries and it is quite exhilarating to see that the shockwaves produced by the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano eruption almost 16.800km away were measured by our instruments deployed around Frankfurt (see chart). The shockwave travelled almost 16 hours. Not only that, but it seems that the same shockwave travelled around the globe and reached the same point another 18 hours later!
To live, we need the air to breathe. Clean air is essential for a healthy life. An adult human breathes about 7.5 litres of air per minute. Only healthy air keeps people and nature healthy. Air pollution has been shown to cause lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, asthma, heart disease and strokes.
As in the previous year, the sale and lighting of fireworks and firecrackers on New Year’s Eve were restricted or banned nationwide due to the Corona pandemic. The level of particulate matter in Munich and other cities, which is harmful to health, was pleasingly low at the turn of 2021/2022. Like last year, the maximum particulate matter values remained far below the values measured in previous years with New Year’s Eve fireworks.
On Saturday, January 8, the 4th edition of the World Youth Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh started. This six-day event has the mission to bring together youth from around the world and the decision-makers and different influential officials. The forum is a chance for you to engage with top policy-makers in the region and network with promising youth in the region and the world determined to create change in the world we live in today.
Access to clean air has recently been recognised as a human right but is not yet part of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. More than 29 000 children around the world have now called for their right to clean air to be recognised as part of the Freedom to Breathe campaign, which will be implemented within a forthcoming amendment to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Is this particular emphasis on the right to clean air specifically necessary? Or, to put it another way, do children suffer differently from air pollution than adults?
At the end of the year, there is a regular discussion about whether fireworks should be dispensed with on New Year’s Eve or whether they should even be officially banned. This year, the discussion was additionally fuelled by the situation with Corona and the ban last year, which was mainly due to Corona.
“We want to harness the potential of digitization for greater sustainability” – this is how the section on “Sustainability in digitisation” in the coalition agreement between the SPD, Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen and FDP begins. The 17 Global Sustainability Goals of the United Nations (SGD) are to be the guiding principles of government policy, and climate protection is to become a cross-cutting task.
Martin Montag, Head of Sales Public Sector, discussed the topic “opportunities of digitisation” in the course of the network meeting “Junge Bürgermeiter*innen”. It is an exciting topic, as municipalities face many challenges and opportunities at the interface of climate protection, sustainability, and digitisation. Here are some spotlights on the topic:
At the beginning of this week, all major media reported 300 000 premature deaths due to particulate matter pollution in 2019 within the EU (e.g., Spiegel or Süddeutsche Zeitung). This news refers to a communication of the European Environment Agency (EEA), which certifies in principle a positive development of air quality in Europe, but also points out how many premature deaths are due to increased fine dust pollution.