City dwellers complain about clean air


In Germany, the limit values ​​for particulate matter are far higher than those recommended by the World Health Organization. In order to change that, seven city dwellers are now going before the BVerfG. They are supported by the DUH and Client Earth.

With the support of the German Environmental Aid (DUH) and the organization Client Earth, seven citizens are appealing to the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) to oblige the Federal Government to impose stricter limits on clean air. As the DUH announced on Monday, the seven complainants live in the cities of Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main and Munich in the immediate vicinity of measuring points with particularly high levels of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. According to the complaint, there are four adults and three minors who are represented by adults.

The complainant from Düsseldorf, who does not wish to publicly reveal her full name, is representing her two children in court. “I am suing primarily for my two children. Even in the city, children must be able to grow up healthy without getting sick from air pollution. The federal government has a duty to protect my children from health problems that will affect them for the rest of their lives.” , she said according to the DUH announcement on Monday. Munich-based Volker Becker-Battaglia, who says he suffers from asthma, is also demanding more protection from the federal government. “There are many ways and measures to reduce air pollution. What is missing is the political will to actually implement them,” he said.

WHO recommendation: only a fifth of the previous value

Lawyer Carolin Douhaire, who is responsible for the legal process, demanded that the legislature must review and tighten the applicable protective measures in the light of scientific findings (…). She referred to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) for nitrogen oxide and particulate matter limits, which had already been significantly tightened last year.

A spokeswoman for the court said on request that a complaint from environmental aid had already been received on September 21. The First Senate is responsible for the procedure (Az. 1 BvR 1807/22).

For particulate matter, the EU guideline values, which also apply to Germany, are significantly higher than the WHO recommendations. The EU limit for fine dust with a particle size of 2.5 micrometers (PM 2.5) is 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Since last year, the WHO has only recommended five micrograms, i.e. one fifth of the currently permitted value. For nitrogen dioxide, the WHO recommends reducing the value to a quarter of the previously applicable value, from 40 to 10 micrograms on an annual average.

dpa/pdi/LTO editorial team