High concentrations of fine particles were registered on Saturday at measuring points in Belgium’s three regions, according to the Inter-regional Environmental Cell, Celine, Belga News Agency reports.
However, air quality is expected to improve gradually during the day, allowing the alert phase, activated on Friday, to be lifted at 06:00 AM on Sunday. In the meantime, the phase and accompanying measures remain in effect on Saturday.
The Brussels transport service, STIB, which includes the city's metro, tram and bus lines are free of charge on smog-alert days. Day tickets for the Vilo city bikes are also free.
Speeds are limited to 90 km/hr. on certain roads and highways in Flanders and Wallonia, such as the Walloon Highway (E42), exits to urban centres along the E42 and the Charleroi ring road (R3).
Dispersal conditions in the atmosphere will, however, be less favourable after the weekend and fine-dust concentration levels could rise again, Celine warns.
The information threshold of 50 mg/m3 of PM10 has been crossed since Monday in Flanders and since Thursday in Wallonia and Brussels.
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The alert threshold was exceeded on Thursday night in Flanders.
In Brussels, speed limits have been reduced to 50 km/hr. on streets where they are normally 70 or 90 km. per hour, while maximum speeds on the region’s roads have been reduced from 120 km/hr. to 90 km/hr.
Weather conditions will become more conducive to better air quality on Sunday, and this will reduce the concentration of fine particles in the air.
Celine does not expect the alert limits set in the three regions to be exceeded, but the information phase will be active in Flanders and Wallonia.