Berlin New Year’s Eve air quality ‘worst in Germany’

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

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

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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Police bust New Year’s Eve rave near Barcelona

Riot police on Saturday broke up a New Year's Eve rave in an abandoned warehouse near the Spanish city of Barcelona where 300 people had been partying for over 40 hours.

Police bust New Year's Eve rave near Barcelona
Brief scuffles broke out after police arrived. Photo: Mossos d'Esquadra
The party began on New Year's Eve in the village of Llinas del Valles some 30 kilometres (19 miles) northeast of Barcelona, with revellers gathering without any regard for safety restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.
In a posting on Twitter, the Catalan regional police said they had confiscated the sound system and all the other equipment used at the party and would press charges against all who were involved.
“We will prosecute the organisers and all the partygoers,” police said, indicating the penalty for attending such an event started at 3,000 euros ($3,650).
“The three organisers of the illegal party in Llinars have been arrested. They will go to court in the next few hours,” police said, indicating they could face a penalty of up to 600,000 euros.
At the scene, a police helicopter flew overhead as hundreds of police entered the warehouse as a large crowd of onlookers gathered nearby, Spain's RNE public radio reported.

Footage obtained by AFP from inside the warehouse shortly before the raid showed a large group of people dancing in front of a huge skull wearing a Santa hat, all of them in close proximity with no masks, and often smoking.

When the police arrived, most of them in riot gear, brief scuffles broke out on the dance floor where a young topless woman could be seen trying to calm the situation.
At least nine police vans could be seen parked inside the building.
It was not immediately clear how many people had been arrested, nor were the police immediately available to comment on media reports that many of the revellers had come from abroad.
Asked why the operation only began around midday on Saturday, police officials told local media it was a complex operation and they didn't move in until they were able to ensure the safety of officers and partygoers.