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    Air pollution: end of information-alert phase

    © Belga
    © Belga

    The concentration of fine particles (PM10) in the air has diminished in Belgium’s three regions and is now lower than the public information phase, set at 50 µg/m³, the Inter-regional Environment Cell (Celine) indicated on Wednesday. At midday on Wednesday, the average concentration of fine particles was 44 µg/m³ in Flanders, 42 µg/m³ in Wallonia and 40 µg/m³ in Brussels.

    With meteorological conditions favouring the dispersal of pollutants in the air, the Inter-regional Environment Cell does not expect concentrations to cross the 50 µg/m³ threshold in the next few days. “The information phase has therefore been lifted,” said the Cell, which had activated it on Tuesday.

    Fine particles in the air are caused mainly by road traffic, heating and industrial activity. They constitute a health hazard since they can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular ailments such as chronic bronchitis and even strokes.

    When concentrations in the air exceed 50 µg/m³, people suffering from respiratory and heart problems, as well as asthma, along with the elderly and young children, should avoid any prolonged physical outdoor activity. People are also advised to reduce their energy consumption and to limit car use.

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that fine particles kill about 7,000,000 persons each year, 500,000 of them in Europe.

    Andy Sanchez
    The Brussels Times