High concentrations of ozone in the air linked to the heat wave are expected this weekend, the Interregional Environment Unit, Celine, warned on Saturday.
The European information threshold was exceeded in two places in Flanders on Friday, and further exceedances could occur on Saturday and Sunday due to strong sunshine, high temperatures and weak winds, the unit noted.
Ozone is formed under the action of solar radiation when there are high concentrations of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air. These are polluting substances emitted in particular by automobile traffic, industries and the domestic sector.
The presence of ozone in the air can cause breathing difficulties – especially during major physical exertion – possible eye irritation, coughing in sensitive people and increased symptoms in people with asthma.
It is therefore recommended that sensitive people, such as children, the elderly and persons with respiratory problems, avoid all physical exertion in the open air between 12:00 noon and 10:00 p.m.
The general population, for its part, should refrain from all sustained physical effort (jogging, for example) during this period, according to Celine.