The European guidelines for air quality list a large number of substances which burden the atmosphere especially strongly due to increased anthropogenic production. Throughout the EU, it is necessary to monitor and decrease this extensive phenomenon, and to restrict the environmental damage it causes. The Ambient Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC contain specific immissions values as limits or thresholds, and also target values which are to be attained within a certain period. These values are oriented toward those of the World Health Organisation (WHO), to limit the impairment to human and animal health, and to protect the flora and fauna from environmental hazards (cf. Tab. 2).
The EU Air Quality Directive has been implemented into national law in Germany as the Federal Immission Protection Law (BImSchG) and the 39th Ordinance for the Implementation of the Federal Immission Protection Law. Pursuant to Articles 44 – 46a of the BlmSchG, under which Berlin is mandated to measure and to publish the measurement results for all atmospheric parameters which may be dangerous for human beings and/or nature. These include: particulate matters (PM10 and PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and ozone (O3). For most of these atmospheric parameters, there are limit values and supplementary tolerance margins (i.e., a sliding scale of annual steps towards the limit). If these limits are exceeded, measures must be taken to reduce immission concentrations. This includes the above mentioned second update of the Air Quality Plan in particular, which details the required measures.
Special attention must be paid to all polluters and emissions, which contribute (significantly) to immissions values being exceeded.
To summarise, these immissions values calculated for the Berlin air provide a basis for:
- the calculation of statistical values of the atmospheric pollution load for evaluating the air quality by means of limit and target values,
- the determination of the pollutant load for permit procedures under the Technical Instructions on Air Quality Control (TA Luft),
- investigation into the causes of atmospheric pollution load,
- investigation of the effectiveness of measures to clean the air, and,
- providing information for the public.