Pollution levels

Better air quality in 2020

An air quality measuring station. Twenty-three communes participate Photo: AEV

An air quality measuring station. Twenty-three communes participate Photo: AEV

The air quality improved in 2020 in Luxembourg, says the Luxembourg Environment Agency in an official statement. The agency found that even after the lockdown, NO2 pollution levels remained below the European-wide limit of 40 µg/m3 per annum.

During the third year of the “Besser Loft fir méi Liewensqualitéit” (“Better air for a better quality of life”) campaign, the governmental agency noticed not only that pollution levels stayed below the limit of 40 µg/m3 per annum in all 23 communes that participated, but also that the levels after the covid-induced lockdown in March and April 2020 remained well below the levels reached in 2019 and 2018.

While the lockdown is mainly to thank for the better air quality—the reduction in car and plane use, Luxembourg’s biggest problem areas—the study showed that post-lockdown sanitary restrictions were also a reason for the decrease. At the end of the year, the levels of NO2 recorded rose slightly—a normal phenomenon, according to the environment agency, as households turn the heating back on.

Amongst the highest yearly recordings of NO2 were some of the samples measured in Ettelbruck, Esch/Alzette and Niederkorn. The communes of Beckerich, Betzdorf and Waldbillig figured at the bottom of the ranking, consistently generating less than 10 µg/m3 a year. Ettelbruck, Waldbillig and Ell were also participating in the campaign for the first time.

Whether the results will remain similar for 2021 seems unlikely. With the return of employees to the offices and more events than in 2020 thanks to CovidCheck, a rise in pollution is to be expected. Luxembourg, though ranked as the second greenest country in the world thanks to its pollution management, paradoxically landed in the second-place position of the worldwide overshoot ranking. Prior to the lockdown in 2020, Luxembourg had also seen a 2% rise in fossil emissions in 2019.