High concentrations of particulate matter in Brussels

The Brussels Air Quality just announced that the city has an exceedance of the information level for particulate matter in the air. To improve air quality, everyone is asked to limit the temperature in buildings and to use cars as little as possible. Intense or prolonged physical efforts are not recommended.

Air pollution in Brussels

How does air quality in Brussels rank with the EU’s other capital cities? In 23 out of 28 EU member states, air quality standards are still not being satisfied – in total in over more than 130 cities across Europe. Unfortunately, this is also the case in Brussels. Brussels still faces levels of air pollution above the recommended European limit values.

One of the leading organisations in Belgium that is campaigning for cleaner air in the country is Clean Air Brussels. They remind us that every year 632 people die prematurely in Brussels because of unhealthy air, and that fine particle concentrations in Brussels are 80% higher than the WHO recommendations for our health. Air pollution in Brussels increases the risk of coronary heart disease by 45%.

Most air pollution in Brussels is caused by automobile traffic. The air pollution levels are well below the more polluted cities of the world, but they violate thresholds set by EU legislation, which according to the WHO are still too low to protect the health of our citizens. Very small particles (“fine particulate matter”) and nitrogen dioxide emissions are the most harmful to human health, and most of these come from the exhaust emissions of diesel car engines.