Nitrogen Oxides - Emissions and Pollution



Berlin never comes to a halt. Cars are on the road around the clock and power plants supply us with energy. Our creature comforts come at a price – involving, for example, nitrogen oxides. These harmful air pollutants are mainly produced during combustion processes in power plants, large industrial furnaces and engines.

Their effect on us is serious: they impair our lung function, damage our mucous membranes, can increase our risk of infection and lead to asthma and respiratory problems. These toxic substances are also harmful to the environment. They cause plants to turn yellow, acidify soil and water, eat away at buildings and promote the excessive formation of ozone and other harmful oxidants during heatwaves.

Berlin’s air is continuously monitored at 17 stations; nitrogen oxide is estimated at a further 42 locations. To keep an eye on nitrogen oxide levels, and to be able to assess and tackle its causes, the Senate keeps emission databases (only in German) for the main groups of pollutants – industry, traffic and domestic heating, i.e. the use of fuels in private households and small businesses.

If you are interested in the past, you can access data and mappings of nitrogen oxide emissions from 1991 and 1995. So far, the long-term development of nitrogen oxide emissions has been inconsistent in Berlin. Following good results in the 1990s, immissions have remained relatively high and limits are still being exceeded every now and again.