As with the previous days through to Monday, the concentration of fine particles in all three Belgian regions was high yesterday (Tuesday) and will also be at an increased level today. “Yesterday, fine particle concentrations declined somewhat owing to winter showers, but we are expecting increased amounts,” Frans Fierans the Director of the Inter-regional Environment Cell (Celine) said.
Since Sunday, the concentration of fine particle (known as PM10) has exceeded, the “information threshold” of 50 microgrammes per cubic meter of air (µg/m³) in all three regions. The population should be aware of this point.
On Tuesday, pollution peaks were recorded on the edges of industrial areas in Antwerp and in Limburg, according to Celine, the organisation reponsable for monitoring air quality.
These fine particles, micro-dust suspended in the air due to industrial combustion and car engines as well as urban heating systems, can penetrate deeply within the lungs. They are associated with an increased risk of cancers, asthma, allergies and respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.
People at risk (older people, those suffering respiratory problems, children and asthmatics) are advised not to undertake intense or prolonged physical exercise whilst this pollution subsists.
According to the European Agency for the Environment, air pollution, which harms the health of 85% of inhabitants in Europe, causes nearly 500,000 premature deaths on the continent each year.
The Brussels Times