Listado de la etiqueta: urban air quality

The Great Smog 1952: Anniversary of an Urban Environmental Disaster

How a disaster became the starting point for clean air legislation

The beginning of December marked the 70th anniversary of unprecedented air pollution in London. It led to 10,000 deaths and 200,000 serious illnesses. The »Great Smog» was a severe air pollution event that hit the British capital from 5 to 9 December 1952: a cold spell combined with unfavourable high-pressure weather and calm winds led to a build-up of air pollutants that formed a thick layer of smog over the city. Visibility in London dropped to below 2 metres.

The excessive burning of coal caused this heavy pollution. The impacts of the smog on the human respiratory system killed 4,000 people in the days of the smog and another 6,000 in the months that followed. Every day for five days, according to the British Meteorological Service, 1000 tonnes of smoke particles, 2000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and significant amounts of other gases were released.

The Great Smog is the period with the worst air pollution in British history. At the same time, it was also a significant event in terms of its impact on environmental research, government regulation and public awareness of the link between air quality and health. In 1956, the Clean Air Act was passed in the UK. Corresponding laws and regulations followed throughout Europe.

Update of the EU Legislation for Air Pollution: Time to Take Action

At the end of October, the EU Commission presented a proposal for updating the guidelines on air quality. The stricter limits for individual air pollutants may be considered the core part. Additionally, the proposal stresses the relevance of air quality more than the previous legislation. Below you will find a short summary:

In 2020, the European Green Deal already included the reference that the EU limit values should be more closely aligned with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Last year, the WHO significantly tightened its recommended guideline values to consider the scientific findings on health effects gained in recent years. Even though the new thresholds in the EU Commission’s draft are not as strict as the WHO recommendations that have been in force since 2021, they have become much more rigorous. For NO2, for example, they mean that more than half of German cities currently do not comply with the new limit value of 20 µg. According to the draft, there is time until 2030 to ensure compliance with the new thresholds through appropriate measures.

In addition to tightening the thresholds, the draft introduces a compensation claim for citizens who suffer health problems due to air pollutants, and the EU air quality regulations are violated. Collective compensation claims for damages by non-governmental organisations are also to be possible.

In addition, better information for the public on air quality is also planned.

Next, the EU Parliament and the EU Council will decide on the EU Commission’s proposal. Approval by the EU Council is expected, so cities need to take action, as most cities’ current air quality plans will not be sufficient for complying with the new thresholds.

Caring about the future: planning for climate and environment in the fiscal year 2023

Currently, budget planning is on the way in most of municipalities.

Particularly in the area of climate and environment, it will not be sufficient to update the existing values. On the one hand, because the current situation poses new challenges for the municipalities but also holds a multitude of opportunities in store, and on the other hand, after a phase marked by the pandemic, the citizens now again expect measures to shape the future actively. Last but not least, the announced tightening of the EU directive on air pollutant limits in the direction of the stricter WHO recommendations must not be lost sight of: Those who proactively position themselves well here will certainly be able to react better to critical situations and thus avoid drastic measures.

To make planning easier for you, we will be happy to provide you with a non-binding cost estimate or quotation. Simply enter the key data in our online form.

Hawa Dawa data products turn environmental data into relevant information for citizens and administrations

Environmental impacts have become an integral part of the «urban development and traffic planning» field of action. Heat waves and increased traffic volumes are just two of the many effects of climate change and urbanization that make the topic of «environment» even more critical.

For concretely considering environmental influences in planning and decision-making, relevant environmental data must be reliable and available at all times. Leer más

Saubere Luft – Eine Aufgabe innerhalb der kommunalen Daseinsfürsorge

This post is only available in German

In der EU besteht ein Recht auf saubere Luft (mehr dazu hier). Daher sind die Mitgliedstaaten verpflichtet, Maßnahmen zu ergreifen, um die Luftschadstoffe zu senken.

Die Grundlage dafür bildet die EU-Luftreinhalterichtlinie (2008/50/EG). Die von der Bundesregierung beschlossene Verordnung über Luftqualitätsstandards und Emissionshöchstmengen (39. BImSchV) setzt diese EU-Richtlinie in nationales Recht um. Zur Verbesserung der Luftqualität legt sie Grenzwerte für Schadstoffkonzentrationen in der (Umgebungs-)Luft fest.

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Air quality data – a pioneer in the municipal open data movement

Open data and data sovereignty are key terms when municipalities think about digitalisation or Smart City.

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Germany fails to meet the new World Health Organization (WHO) guideline values for air pollution for 2021

Hawa Dawa shows on the basis of an analysis of all existing public measuring stations in Germany that the new WHO guideline values for air pollution were exceeded at the majority of the measuring stations.

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Digitisation, Climate Protection and Sustainability: Chances and Challenges for Cities

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:

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New WHO guidelines on air pollution – what’s their meaning?

By reducing the recommended heights, existing laws come under pressure – or at least are being questioned. While the European Air Pollution Control Directive largely complied with the previous WHO recommendations from 2005, gaps are now apparent. The EU has already announced a revision and launched the corresponding consultation. Leer más

TÜV Süd confirms Hawa Dawa the accuracy of the «indicative measurement»

IoT measurement method meets legal requirements to prove compliance with air pollutant limits. Hawa Dawa has been the first provider in Europe to be certified by an independent state-approved body for the legally prescribed measurement accuracy of its IoT sensor measuring networks. TÜV Süd certifies:  Hawa Dawa achieves the quality objectives of the 39. BlmSchV  (the national implementation of the EU directive 2008/50/EG ).

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