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‘600 early deaths in Brussels every year due to pollution’

16:15 20/11/2017

According to an open letter to the government of the Brussels-Capital Region signed by more than 100 Belgian doctors, scientists and health organisations, 600 people die prematurely every year in the city because of the high level of fine particles.

Two years ago the first open letter regarding the matter was signed and sent to the government. This weekend a second letter was delivered and released to the press. “Despite the legal requirement imposed on the government in 2010 to ensure better air quality,” reads the letter, “residents are still living with dangerously unhealthy air.”

The letter goes on to say that even non-smokers who live in Brussels has an increased chance of lung cancer and that the dirty air is dangerous for children, the elderly and the chronically ill in particular. Not only do the scientists and caregivers attribute more than 600 premature deaths in the region to polluted air annually, they say that more than 20% of hospital stays for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are directly related to air quality. The same is true, they say, of occurrences of bronchitis in young asthma patients.

“It is unacceptable,” reads the letter, “that we are completely consciously allowing an entire generation to grow up with these disturbing risks.” The group concludes the letter with four demands:

  • The launch of a broad information campaign to warn Brussels residents and commuters about the region’s air quality and the consequences thereof
  • The development of an efficient air quality monitoring network that complies with European directives
  • In addition to striving towards ambitious targets for fine particulates and nitrogen dioxide, the development of targets for soot, which would “drastically reduce the worst effects of air pollution”
  • A clear calendar of target dates with concrete steps to realise the goals

Traffic is responsible for much of Brussels pollution problem, a spokesperson told Bruzz. Suggested improvements are banning diesel engines, tax breaks for greener vehicles, an efficient public transport network and investments in cycling facilities and electric bicycles.

Written by Lisa Bradshaw

Comments

JSA

Instead of switching off pollution monitors as they do now and pretending the problem doesn't exist, they should display the air quality stats at the roadside on big signs so that those who create it can see what they are causing.

Nov 23, 2017 13:10