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    Free public transport at emergency air-pollution levels

    © Belga
    © Belga

    Emergency rules recently approved by the government of Brussels Region will allow commuters to ride for free on public transport when the concentration of microparticles in the air exceeds certain limits, La Dernière Heure and La Libre Belgique reported on Friday. Under the new rules, travelling with the Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company, STIB, and Villa shared bicycles will be free for a fixed duration, the dailies reported.

    Speeds will be reduced to 50 km/hour on roads with limits of 70 to 90 km/hr. and to 90 km/hr. on roads with 120 km/hr. speed limits.

    Wood fires will be banned except where they are the sole source of heating in the home.

    These measures will kick in as soon as the 0-information threshold for information and awareness-building has been observed for two consecutive days. This threshold is attained when the sliding average concentration of pollutants reaches 51 to 70 milligrammes per cubic metre of air over a 24-hour period.

    Meanwhile, a new pollutant has been added to the air-quality index: fine PM 2.5 particles in the air will now be tracked.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times