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    Pollution norms exceeded in a third of Flemish commues

    European pollution norms are exceeded in a third of Flemish communes, according to citizen movement CurieuzeNeuzen. Around 20,000 Flemish people agreed to measure the air quality and the concentration of Nitrogen dioxide in their street in May. The results were published on Saturday by De Standaard, Het Nieuwsblad and Gazet van Antwerpen. 

    Nitrogen dioxide is a chemical component than can be found in car exhaust fumes. It is a good indicator of the level of pollution caused by traffic. The lowest level was found in Rémersdael, in the commune of Fourons (10,9 µg/m3 microgram per metre cubed of air) while the highest level was in Houthalen-Helchteren (75.3 µg/m3). 

    The average concentration across the country is 22 µg/m3, which is relatively good. “The majority of the Flemish population lives in areas where traffic has a limited impact on air quality”, says Filip Meysman (Antwerp University), which lent scientific support to the project. 

    But the reality is actually quite grim. Apart from a few areas where the air is pure – in Hageland, Hesbaye, Limburg Campine, Fourons, Flemish Ardennes and Pajottenland – pollution goes way above the European norms in many other areas. The norm the World Health Organisation (WHO) got put in place is 40 µg/m3. This was exceeded in a third of communes. 

    Jason Bennett
    The Brussels Times