Berlin New Year's Eve air quality 'worst in Germany'

DPA/The Local
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Berlin New Year's Eve air quality 'worst in Germany'
Photo: DPA

If you found it difficult to draw breath around midnight on New Year's Eve in the Hauptstadt, you were not alone.


Figures from an air quality test conducted during New Year's Eve celebrations showed that the fireworks and pyrotechnics across Berlin resulted in the country’s poorest air quality, the Tagespiegel reports

The figure from Berlin’s Friedrichshain district showed a measurement of 853 micrograms of air pollution per cubic metre. 

Friedrichshain, one of the city’s main party districts and a hub of New Year's Eve fireworks activity, measured roughly 50 milligrams per cubic metre more than the closest figure of 805 from Reutlingen in southwest Germany. 

Leipzig (781 micrograms per cubic metre) recorded a figure which was lower than previous years. 

The topic of New Year's Eve fireworks has become increasingly controversial in recent years, particularly in Berlin where injuries and hospitalisations for firework-related incidents skyrocket during Silvester celebrations

SEE ALSO: Hamburg police seize 850kg firework stash

Aside from the direct impact fireworks have through injuries and burns, the pollution they leave behind litters city streets sometimes for months. 

The air pollution also causes problems, particularly for children, the elderly and people with chronic illness. The German Society for Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine has called for fireworks usage to be limited or outlawed completely, citing a rise in hospitalisation in the days following New Year's Eve. 

Politicians have also called for fireworks to be further restricted, including limitations on their sale in the lead up to New Year's Eve and the banning of their usage in particular locations or venues. 

Last year the historic Bading Music Hall in the city’s Neukölln district - also a hub of Silvester pyrotechnic activity - burned down as a result of a fire caused by fireworks. 

In total, approximately 4,500 tonnes of fine dust was released into the city’s air on New Year's Eve, a figure which has been relatively constant in recent years. 

While the levels reach their peak in the hours after midnight, the residue can linger for days into the new year but are undetected to the naked eye.  

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