In the world’s dirtiest city, Delhi in India, the poor air quality is tangible, but very few are interested in the pollution. The people have more pressing concerns and the serious consequences can often only be seen years later.
30 years ago in Germany, the air was as bad as in India. We were breathing soot for years. Then the air quality was improved due to more stringent environmental legislation, which closed mines and stated that filter units should be installed. Today, Germany is experiencing a bitter argument about banning diesel vehicles.
Medical experts know more about the effects of poor-quality air nowadays. Christian Döring is a paediatrician with a practice in Cologne. “Families with young children cannot live in cities such as Cologne, Stuttgart or Munich with a clear conscience. Children in cities have noticeably worse lung function than children from the country.
Polluted air is spread all over the world: When the coal-fired power plants are fired up in Poland, the levels of the fine dust figures rise in the west. Is a ban on diesel vehicles the best possible measure? Or just activism which deflects attention from the actual problem?