Pollutants present in the air decreased by up to 90% on "Car-free Sunday," Brussels environment reported on Monday, adding that noise pollution also went down sharply.
From 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, Belgium's capital presented a different face in terms of traffic, recording sometimes drastic reductions in the concentration of pollutants in the air.
Thus, the concentrations of nitrogen monoxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) fell by 80% outside the Arts-Loi metro station compared to a "normal" Sunday. Compared to a "classic" weekday, the level of nitrogen monoxide in the air dropped by 90%, and that of nitrogen dioxide by 86%.
The sound environment was also "peaceful." Several measurements taken close to the roads made it possible to observe "very marked," reductions - at times exceeding 10 decibels - not far from the highways. "
Along the E411 in Auderghem and near the E40 in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, sound pressure was down by 90%, Brussels Environment noted. Towards Avenue Hooba de Strooper and Chaussée de Wavre in Auderghem, noise pollution dropped by 68%.
"This day is an opportunity to highlight the importance of pollution stemming from road traffic and the consequences of the absence (or almost) of motorised vehicles on air quality and sound environment," Brussels Environment stressed.
"It's a huge challenge," the agency added. "According to the latest report from the European Environment Agency, air pollution caused 8,950 premature deaths in Belgium in 2018. This is therefore a public health issue."