Several environmentalists, including the Green Party’s co-chairman, Zakia Khattabi, “objectivised” the “poor air quality” on Monday morning at rush hour on the avenue de la Couronne in Ixelles. “At 8.30 am, the particulate matter (PM 2.5) was 31 μg / m3, an air pollution rate above the threshold set by the World Health Organisation”, said Khattabi, stressing that these pollutants constitute a serious health risk for the population. It therefore calls on Prime Minister Charles Michel to pursue a pro-active environmental policy.
“Since there are no standards fixed at the European level, with regard to the PM 2.5 threshold, that may not to be crossed, we have had to make the correlation in fine particles at PM 10, which corresponds to a rate of 62 Μg / m3, which is greater than 50 μg / m3, i.e. the European threshold of pollution that may not be exceeded or does not require a population alert, as well as the WHO ceiling at 25 μg / m3”, explains Patrick Böttcher, Health and Environmental Policy Advisor at Ecolo.
“Air pollution causes the premature death of some 12,000 Belgians each year”, said Zakia Khattabi. “Measures can be taken to improve air quality”, but at this stage “the reaction of local, regional, federal and European authorities is insufficient in terms of the system of measures to be implemented” criticised the ecologist party.
Zakia Khattabi therefore calls on Prime Minister Charles Michel “to pursue a pro-active environmental policy as the government seeks to save money in health care.” According to the Green Party, quoting a WHO report published in 2016, Belgium spends 16 billion in health care on pollution costs annually. “Incentives to reduce pollution could be put in place, as they have been in Paris, for example, where free public transport is made available during peak pollution levels”, continues Khattabi.
The action taken this Monday is all the more relevant, according to Ecolo, so much so that the G7 summit ended this weekend without an agreement on the environment and the signatories of the Paris Agreement on Climate, of which Belgium is a member, must honor their commitments.