While ozone concentrations were normal for the time of year on Monday, they look set to rise from Tuesday, perhaps even breaking the European information threshold, the Interregional Environment Cell (Celine) warned.
On Tuesday, it will be hot and sunny with little wind. Temperatures will soar to 32 degrees in mid-Belgium. Air pollution, which facilitates the formation of ozone, must be taken into account. “Based on the latest forecasts, the information threshold, 180 µg/metre cubed, could be exceeded locally. The north of the country is the most at risk,” Celine warned.
On Wednesday, the heat will intensify, with temperatures reaching a possible 37 degrees. Ozone concentrations will continue to increase measuring between 175 and 240 µg/m³. Over the country as a whole, records risk being broken. The danger of crossing the warning threshold, set at 240 µg/m³, is “slight but cannot be ruled out locally.”
There is, in any case, a distinct danger it will be exceeded on Thursday in the north of the country, the temperature is still warmer with highs reaching 38 degrees. Records look set to be shattered all over Belgium.
These very high concentrations of ozone may have an impact on health and cause respiratory difficulties (particularly if exerting oneself), irritation of the eyes and upper respiratory tracts, coughs among susceptible persons and an increase in the frequency and seriousness of symptoms in asthmatics.
As a precautionary measure, persons at risk (children, older people, those suffering from respiratory problems) must avoid any unusual physical exertion and exercise in the open air between 12.00 and 22.00.