High ozone levels this week may exceed European information threshold
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    High ozone levels this week may exceed European information threshold

    © Belga
    © Belga

    High concentrations of ozone forecast for the next few days may exceed the European information threshold, the Interregional Environment Cell (Celine) warned on Tuesday in a press release. The European threshold from which the population needs to be informed, is set at 180 microgrammes per cubic metre of air (180 µg/m³).

    Relatively high concentrations were already registered on Monday, but the information threshold was not exceeded, Celine stated. For Tuesday, the forecast is warm, very sunny weather. Cumulus clouds will develop in the afternoon, with light wind blowing in variable directions.

    The maximum hourly concentrations are expected to be between 120 µg/m³ and 180 µg/m³. The information threshold could be exceeded in localized areas that remain sunny in the afternoon. The areas at greatest risk are the east and south of the country.

    On Wednesday, the weather will remain warm and sunny, which means the European information threshold could again be crossed in various parts of the country. The maximum hourly concentrations are expected to be higher: between 150 µg/m³ and 210 µg/m³.

    The forecast for Thursday is even more alarming, with expected highs ranging from 170 µg/m³ to 230 µg/m³.  The entire country risks exceeding the information threshold and the red-alert limit, set at 240 µg/m³, could be crossed in localized areas. The situation is not expected to improve before the weekend.

    Depending on the ozone concentration, length of exposure, the sensitivity of the exposed person and their activities, there can be symptoms such as difficulty breathing, and irritation of the eyes and higher respiratory tracts. Additionally, sensitive persons can experience bouts of coughing. The symptoms may be more severe and frequent in asthma patients.

    Sensitive persons (children, the elderly etc.) are advised to avoid unusual physical effort and any open-air exercise from 12:00 noon to 10:00 p.m. Everyone is advised to avoid any sustained physical effort, such as jogging.

    Andy Sanchez
    The Brussels Times