Customer reference: NABU Hamburg


NABU Hamburg e.V.


NGO / Environmental protection association

Project duration:

2+ years

Project type:

Public utility air quality monitoring network


Creation of an air quality monitoring network along the northern side of the Elbe river, to create transparency for residents and uncover problems


Increased transparency about vessel- and port-based emissions, collection of a strong data basis to evaluate air quality in the residential districts near the Hamburg port area

With our work on shipping and ports, we have reached a broad public and won many new comrades-in-arms. The air pollution monitoring network helped a lot. In Hamburg, groundbreaking political decisions have recently been made to reduce air pollution from the port. This is not least due to our work.” – Malte Siegert, 1st chairman of NABU Hamburg


The port and the shipping sector cause a significant contribution to the air pollution in the city of Hamburg. NABU Hamburg has therefore been active in this field for many years and has repeatedly carried out short measurements. The environmental protection association has often received letters from residents around the port of Hamburg who have complained about bad air and stench. The city’s air quality monitoring network has large gaps along the Elbe and in the adjacent residential areas.

Together with the residents, NABU therefore wanted to set up a measurement network to record air quality. With this network, NABU Hamburg wanted to make the problem visible: “Air pollutant emissions on the water are regulated relatively laxly. Ships are allowed to burn inferior fuels and are not required to use catalytic converters or particle filters.

NABU air quality monitoring network in the Hamburg port area

NABU air quality monitoring network in the Hamburg port area


In addition to creating a data basis about air pollution in the project area, the goal of NABU was to create awareness of the situation: Both local residents and political decision makers should be made aware of the problem.


It has been uncovered that the nitrogen dioxide pollution in particular is significantly higher in the residential areas close to the port than in other areas of the city. In addition to the high long-term exposure, the measurement network, in comparison with wind and ship movement data, has shown that ships cause extremely high concentrations of air pollutants in individual cases that do not occur otherwise.

NABU was able to address the general public with the results of the project in cooperation with Breeze Technologies. Several regional and national media outlets reported about NABU Hamburg and the project.

During the project’s lifetime, groundbreaking political decisions were made in Hamburg to reduce air pollution from the port area.


Bürger-Luftmessnetz entlang der Elbe – Projektwebsite (NABU Hamburg)

Video: Luftmessnetz am Hafenrand – NABU Hamburg (NABU Hamburg, 06.07.2020)

Bürger sollen Luft am Hafen messen (Kieler Nachrichten, 23.10.2018)

NABU nimmt Luftmessnetz am Hamburger Hafenrand in Betrieb (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 02.04.2019)

Naturschutzbund misst Luft-Schadstoffe an der Elbe (Die Welt, 05.04.2019)

Nabu nimmt eigenes Luftmessnetz in Betrieb (Hamburger Abendblatt, 05.04.2019)

Stinker im Hafen: Jetzt messen die Bürger selbst (SHZ, 05.04.2019)

NABU Luftmessnetz für den Hamburger Hafenrand (Ökumenisches Forum Hafencity, April 2019)

Schlechte Luft am Hafenrand – NABU präsentiert Ergebnisse des eigenen Luftmessnetzes (lifePR, 07.07.2020)

„Besorgniserregende Daten“ Nabu warnt vor Luftbelastung – und kritisiert Hamburg (Hamburger Morgenpost, 07.07.2020)

Der Hafen dieselt vor sich hin (taz, 08.07.2020)

Also in the news at the following outlets: NDR Aktuell (“Schlechte Luft in der Hafencity”), NDR Hamburg Nachrichten (“NABU nimmt Luftmessnetz im Hafen in Betrieb”), Sat1 Regional, RTL Nord Hamburg, Hamburg 1 (“NABU installiert neues Luftmessnetz”)