Noise pollution has gone down by half in the Brussels Region and around Brussels Airport due to the lockdown caused by the new coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, according to data consulted by VRT NWS.
Figures from the Environment Department in Flanders show that noise pollution around the airport has been reduced, due mainly to the sharp reduction in flights. In March 2020, there were 10,000 flights, down from 18,000 in March 2019. The drop was even more noticeable in April, when there were only 2,000 flights, as against 19,000 in April of last year.
The most spectacular drop in noise pollution has been observed at daytime – between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. At most measuring stations, the amount of noise generated by planes during the day has gone down by about 10 decibels, which is half the usual amount.
Late at night and in the early hours of the morning, on the other hand, cargo planes usually account for the lion’s share of air traffic. Since they have continued to operate during the coronavirus crisis, the reduction in flights, and therefore noise pollution, is much less at night than during the day.
VRT NWS also gave figures on noise pollution on the capital’s roads. According to data from the Brussels Environment Department, noise from car, rail and air traffic has been reduced by 1 to 22 decibels, depending on the measuring point.
The Belgian association of acousticians has urged the population to take measures on its own. “These are great days for us,” said Filip Verbandt of the EVA acoustic consultancy company. “Future congresses will pay a great deal of attention to this exceptional moment.”
In most cases, noise pollution has gone down by 10 to 12 decibels since the Coronavirus lockdown, according to the acousticians, who describe the drop as considerable.
However, results from the different measuring points are sometimes surprising. Close to the Antwerp ring road, noise pollution has gone up by 7 to 8 decibels and the situation is similar along the ring road around Leuven. These are areas where traffic now flows freely, instead of being snagged.