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Air quality worse than official measurements suggest, says citizens’ group
A three-month analysis by the citizen’s group Les Chercheurs d’Air has determined that the level of fine particles present in Brussels is consistently above the maximum level for clean air established by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The official measuring stations are not giving us a thorough picture of the situation,” said Les Chercheurs d’Air. The organisation handed out air quality meters to 400 residents across the Capital-Region, who have been measuring the air quality since 1 February.
The small-sized meters are capable of measuring particulate matter smaller than PM2.5, or 2.5 micrometres (µm). By comparison, a human hair is over 10 µm. In contrast to these 400, Brussels only has five meters across the entire region that measure particulates that small.
Les Chercheurs d’Air’s first findings show that the average concentration of fine particulates in the air between February and April was 11 micrograms (µg) per cubic metre. WHO’s annual mean for human and animal health is 10 µg per square metre.
Evere, Jette highest concentrations
At 21 locations, the meters measured more than 25 µg per cubic metre – WHO’s 24-hour mean – at least once every 24 hours. And measurements “regularly” reached above 100 µg per cubic metre, according to Les Chercheurs d’Air.
Interestingly, those high levels weren’t consistently found in any one municipality. Once month it would be Forest, the next Jette and the next Schaerbeek, for instance.
The absolute highest concentration reached was on Rue du Tilleul in Evere (pictured), where 162.5 µg/m³ was measured at one point. Next came Rue Basse in Uccle (122.7 µg/m³), followed by Avenue Jean Dubrucq in Molenbeek (120.1 µg/m³).
The highest average concentration was in Avenue de Levis Mirepoix in Jette, at 17.95 µg/m³.
“These first results show that the official measurements are not doing enough to provide a clear picture of the air quality in Brussels,” a spokesperson told Bruzz. “The situation right now does not look good at all. But we need scientific research to reach accurate conclusions.”
Photo courtesy Google