Childhood asthma peaks in Belgium because of traffic
Friday, 12 April 2019
Almost a quarter of Belgian children with asthma developed it due to traffic emissions, making Belgium ninth worst in the world for this phenomena.
Every year, around four million children worldwide develop asthma with a direct link to traffic emissions, according to a study by The Lancet. That’s 11,000 new patients every day. Only eight countries, including South Korea, Kuwait and Qatar, are doing worse than Belgium, while the Netherlands is doing equally poorly, reports De Morgen.
The researchers from the American George Washington University looked at the correlation between asthma patients younger than 18 years old in 194 countries, and the concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), for which traffic is the main responsible. Using this data, they calculated how many of those asthma cases would be due to the concentration of NO2.
“Together with the Dutch Randstad, the area above the Sambre and the Maas rivers forms a hotspot of NO2 pollution,” says Frans Fierens, director of the Interregional Cell for the Environment. “That is due to a high population density, but also because Belgium is historically a diesel country,” he added.