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    Air quality levels in Belgium improved again in 2019

    © Belga
    Credit: © Belga
    © Belga

    The air quality in Belgium continued to improve in the year 2019, with concentrations of some of the most polluting agents continuing to drop.

    The Interregional Environment Agency (CELINE/IRCEL)’s provisional 2019 report showed that concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM) levels had remained relatively stable in comparison to last year’s figures.

    The agency found that the number of days in which air pollution went beyond EU air quality standards had dropped again in 2019 in all three Belgian regions.

    In Flanders in and in the Brussels-Capital Region, that number dropped for the sixth consecutive year, and for the fifth year in a row in Wallonia.

    The agency said that there had been a significant improvement in air quality levels throughout the last decade, noting that average concentrations and the number of overly polluted days had “considerably dropped.”

    “Between 2015 and 2018 there was some stagnation, but in 2019 a new drop in the yearly concentration of PM2.5,” the report noted, referring to a very fine type of particulate matter.

    The agency said that data from the following years would need to be analysed in order to determine if the decline in 2019 was effectively part of a larger trend.

    The report also found that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution levels continued to decline, albeit more slowly, with a drop of between 5 and 10% recorded in comparison to 2018 levels.

    The agency wrote that high NO2 levels were recorded in several places where environmental guidelines set out by the European Union were not followed, such as in Brussels’ Rue de La Loi or along the Antwerp ring road.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times