Only eight out of 250 sites tested in a measurement campaign had nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels under the 20 µg/m³ threshold recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ecolo and Green parties noted on Thursday. Worse yet, close to 30% of the measurement points exceeded the European norm of 40 µg/m³, as against 9% last year, the study showed.
Unsurprisingly, the highest values were recorded at measurement points close to the busiest roads, such as La Botanique on Terveuren Avenue, Place Sainctelette and Rue Belliard. However, pollution generated by traffic affects the entire region, the green parties stress.
They are worried in particular by the high NO2 concentrations registered close to certain schools, like the Parvis de Saint-Gilles (49 µg/m³), Sacré-Coeur de Ganshoren High School (48 µg/m³) and Sint-Joris Primary School in the Pentagone (44 µg/m³).
The greenest communes achieved the best results, even though areas around certain parks and kindergartens exceeded the WHO norm. These include the Elisabeth de Koekelberg Park at the exit of the Léopold II tunnel (72 µg/m³).
Ecolo and Groen called for less auto traffic, more green spaces, better isolated buildings, more infrastructure for cyclists, dedicated public transport corridors, the completion of the high-speed railway network and mobility budgets for workers instead of company cars. They are also opposed to the widening of the ring road.