Air pollutants and noise pollution
In addition to its climate impact, aviation has other negative impacts. Noise and air pollutants are a burden on people and the environment.
As with other modes of transport, airline operations and activities at the airport release pollutants such as nitrous gases, hydrocarbons and particulate matter. These have warming effects on the climate and can also have a negative impact on human health.
In connection with aviation, the impact of ultrafine particles (UFP) – i.e. particles smaller than 100nm – is currently being much discussed. These are produced in all combustion processes. Aircraft engines release particularly large quantities of ultrafine particles. These cause increased concentrations of ultrafine particles in the vicinity of airports. Therefore, not only climate protection measures should be taken, but also measures to reduce air pollutants and thus potential health hazards.
Studies have established a clear link between traffic noise and health risks. Especially in conurbations, people suffer from noise pollution.
To counter the negative health effects of aircraft noise, both active and passive noise abatement measures are possible. Active noise abatement aims to reduce noise directly at the source through technical measures: flight routes can be adjusted or the times at which routes and runways are used can be changed; new flight procedures also make it possible to fly at higher altitudes for longer during the descent to reduce noise on the ground or to fly flight routes more precisely. Passive noise abatement measures protect people through structural measures such as better sound insulation of building components ( e.g. windows or roofs).
The regulations of the German Air Traffic Noise Act focus on passive noise abatement measures, settlement restrictions for particularly affected areas and compensation payments for the restricted use of exterior living areas. Active noise protection is often neglected and the technological and navigational possibilities are not used. The threshold values for passive noise abatement provided for by law are also insufficient: both the short-term nuisance and the long-term effects of aircraft noise are greater than was assumed when the legal standards were set.