Citizens sue regional governments over failing air quality

Citizens sue regional governments over failing air quality
Credit: Benoit Doppagne/Belga.

Nine Belgian citizens are filing a lawsuit against the regional governments for failing to bring their air quality standards in line with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendations.

Last September, the WHO lowered its advisory values for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide in the air, both good parameters for air quality, to 5 and 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air (µg/m3) respectively.

Readings show that Belgium is four to five times higher in excess of these limits, standing at 25 µg/m3 for particulate matter and 40 µg/m3 for nitrogen dioxide.

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De Standaard and Le Soir report that as a result, nine Belgians suffering from respiratory problems are filing a lawsuit against their respective regional governments for failing air quality policy.

Tired of the Belgian authorities’ inaction, they were aided with the complaint by ClientEarth, an NGO specializing in environmental law.

Together, they are demanding that the standards be brought in line with those of the World Health Organization (WHO), with penalties if they do not comply with the ruling.

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