Belgium is one of the world’s countries most polluted by nitrogen oxide (NO2), according to data from the European Space Agency (ESA) analysed by Greenpeace, the environmental agency warned on Monday. It said the Antwerp area was particularly affected.
A new ESA satellite makes it possible to study and compare the world’s most pollutive sources of nitrogen oxide emissions. Based on this data, Greenpeace developed and published an interactive map of the 50 NO2 hotspots in the world. They include Antwerp, while Belgium is one of the countries with the greatest rate of nitrogen oxide pollution in Europe.
Greenpeace points an accusing finger at the situation in the Antwerp port industry, which has an incidence on air quality, but also, and especially, the large number of diesel cars and the density of the Belgian road network. “Traffic is the main cause of the impact on our health, especially that of our children,” Greenpeace air-quality expert Joeri Thijs said.
For the environmental NGO, this is a new alarm bell for the politicians, after the results of operation ‘My Street My Air,’ which showed high NO2 concentrations in six Walloon towns.
“The politicians now negotiating coalitions in the big cities cannot afford to ignore these results,” Thijs said. “Our cities can be pioneers in quickly abandoning diesel, and then gas, and leading us to a healthy mobility with much less automobile traffic and better alternatives to cars.”