The more fine particles and the fewer trees there are in an area, the more often people have to go to the doctor, independent health insurance funds concluded in a large study in collaboration with several research institutes. But how do you know the air quality in the area where you live or want to live? What is the 3-30-300 rule of thumb that will get you a long way? And where else can you even check the air quality yourself from hour to hour? We’ll help you get started.
The Independent Health Insurance Funds, in cooperation with the Interregional Environment Cell (IRCEL) and researchers KULeuven and UHasselt, have mapped the level of pollution with particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers in the ambient air, up to the level of 20,000 n. alive. These data were then combined with data on more than a million Belgian young people and adults affiliated with independent health insurance funds. The conclusion: the lower the concentration of particulate matter in the air, the fewer visits to the doctor.
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What is the 3-30-300 rule of thumb?
The role played by the presence of green spaces was also discussed. It showed that those who live in a neighborhood where tree cover exceeds 30% visit the doctor less often. Independent health insurance funds provide a useful tool for those who want to quickly and easily check whether there is enough urban green space in their living, work or school environment: the so-called 3-30-300 rule of thumb. It is beneficial for your health to be able to see at least 3 trees from where you live, with 30% tree coverage in the area, and a maximum of 300 meters from a park or green recreational space.
Where can you check the air quality in a particular location?
But how do you know if the place where you spend or want to spend a lot of time – that is, live, work or go to school – has acceptable air quality? A big static map with areas to avoid doesn’t solve much: after all, air quality is affected not only by industry or agriculture in your backyard, but also by pollution coming from far away. This is according to wind directions and climatic influences. Even because of the time of day: This makes sense, because during rush hour the air quality around traffic arteries is a completely different story than it is during less busy times.
Useful: The Flemish Environment Agency, in cooperation with IRCEL – CELINE, monitors concentrations of various health-threatening substances in the air around the clock and also makes this data available to the population online. You find them on their site in the form of useful maps and tables. It doesn’t make sense to visit regularly if you are, for example, looking for a house in a certain area. You can also take a look at it The annual average for your neighborhood these different pollutants. That’s why they work with IRCEL – CELINE and VITO.
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