On the initiative of Belgium’s French-speaking Green party, Ecolo, activists held an awareness raising campaign this morning at the Arts-Loi crossroads in Brussels. They were calling for urgent measures to combat traffic congestion and air pollution.
The activists distributed around 100 STIB transport tickets to drivers, encouraging them to use public transport.
This came as a response to the fact that Brussels has, this week, seen its third pollution peak this winter. Moreover, a European Commission report stated on Monday that Belgium was the most congested country in Europe.
The finger has, particularly, been pointed at transport emissions in urban areas. Ecolo mentions that, every year, air pollution causes the premature deaths of some 12,000 Belgians.
The party considers that the response at regional and federal government level has been insufficient in this sphere. Arnaud Pinxteren, the Brussels deputy champions, “We must re-examine how to implement urgent measures, with a view to acting quickly, in particular by proposing free public transport.”
He further said, “It has been almost ten years since the peak pollution plan has anticipated free public transport upon meeting given eligibility criteria but this has never been achieved. The system is not therefore fit for purpose for current times and we must review its minimum requirements, so as to propose the quickest public transport alternatives.”
Ecolo also argues for tangible measures as regards the transport policy. The Co-President of Ecolo, Zakia Khattabi, says, “As a matter of urgency, the tram and train network should be strengthened and increased, in terms of both speed and frequency. In modern times, priority should be afforded to public transport and its rapid development.”
The Brussels Times