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Tampered automobiles Diesel vehicles responsible for high NO2 levels in Swiss cities

Activists with anti-diesel car signs

Germany's Federal Administrative Court ruled that cities can impose driving bans on diesel cars to combat air pollution. 


Air pollution measurements in five Swiss cities have shown that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels are consistently too high. According to the Transport and Environment Association (TEA), diesel vehicles are the main culprits. 

The measurements were carried out in Lausanne, Bern, Basel, Zurich and Lugano. In January and February, an NO2 indicator was installed in the centre of Bern. Most of the time, the lights were in the red zone, announced the TEAexternal link on Thursday. The concentration of NO2 has therefore consistently exceeded the average annual limit of 30 micrograms per cubic metre. The result is the same for other cities. NO2 levels remained high until around 3 am or at the weekend. The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) has also confirmed high levels of NO2. 

Dirty diesel

This NO2 pollution, which has serious consequences for health and the environment, comes mainly from diesel vehicles with manipulated emissions, said the TEA. 

The association cites Zurich’s Cantonal Office for Waste, Water, Energy and Air, according to which "without legal manipulation and legal tricks, nearly 50% less nitrogen oxides would be emitted". 

A reduction of NO2 emissions would however be entirely achievable, the TEA adds: a study by the German Automobile Club ADAC showed in February "that harmful emissions from old diesel cars can be reduced by retrofitting". 

In order to control the pollutant load, the TEA had called for an immediate halt to the sale of new diesel cars that emit a quantity of nitrogen oxides well above the permitted limit value. 

Nitrogen oxide emissions from most car models on the road exceed the limits by five times. These models should be retrofitted at the expense of the automobile industry, which has been too passive so far, said the association.


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