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Thousands volunteer for Brussels' largest air quality study

11:13 21/06/2021

More than 5,500 people have volunteered to take part in Brussels’ largest-ever air quality measurement study – almost double the participant target set by organisers.

CurieuzenAir was launched by universities, NGOs, public bodies and media partners with the aim to mobilise families, businesses, associations and schools to map air pollution at some 3,000 sites in the Brussels region.

When registration closed a few days ago, the organisers found that the number of volunteers stood at 5,578.

The applicants came from all parts of the region, even places where it is usually more difficult to get volunteers for this kind of study, such as neighbourhoods with great diversity or sparsely populated areas.

Among the candidates, 3,000 were selected using an algorithm. This took into account the geographic distribution across the city, the variation in street types and traffic intensity, and whether the street is closed or open.

Priority was given to the measurement points with a window on the street side of the first floor in order to standardise the measurement as much as possible.

The selected candidates have now been contacted by email to confirm their participation. The others were placed on a waiting list in the event of withdrawal of a measurement point from the first selection.

All participants must pay a small contribution towards the cost of their measurement kit – a €5 minimum, while the real price of each is about €150.

By 25 September, participants will have to place a panel with two measuring tubes in their window. This device will remain in place for a month to measure the concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air.

All of this data will be compiled in order to improve computer models and assess health effects. The political world will also have access to this information to help with the possible implementation of new regulations.

CurieuzenAir's media partners (De Standaard, Le Soir and Bruzz) will publish an interactive map in February 2022 presenting the results. Participants will receive a personal report with the results of their own measurement point.

Written by Richard Harris