Most Flemish municipalities do not meet the WHO recommended value for the concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air. This is evident from the second interim report of the Flemish Air Policy Plan 2030, which was announced to the Flemish government on Friday.
In only 58 municipalities (19.3%), the number of residents exposed to excessive concentrations fell by half or more last year compared to 2016. However, the Flemish government has an ambition to significantly improve air quality by 2030. It wants to reduce the number of people living In a location where the annual average NO2 concentration is higher than the recommended value in every municipality compared to 2016. “There is still a long way to go to achieve the healthy NO2 target in all cities.” Flemish cities. “, says the office of Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir (N-VA).
The World Health Organization tightened the recommended values for nitrogen dioxide two years ago based on new scientific research.
The recommended values are more stringent
Average annual nitrogen dioxide emissions are stagnating. Since 2018, no exceedance of the annual limit value (40 micrograms per cubic metre) has been measured at all measuring sites using automatic monitors. In 2020 and 2021, largely due to restrictions imposed during the Corona pandemic, no excesses were measured using more sensitive measuring equipment. Last year, a minor overtake was measured again on a busy regional road in Huthalen-Heilshtern, Limburg.
The World Health Organization tightened the recommended values for nitrogen dioxide two years ago, based on new scientific research, to 10 micrograms per cubic meter. Flanders is also using this new guideline as an evaluation value, which has significantly increased ambition.
Nitrogen dioxide is mainly emitted by gasoline and diesel vehicles on the road. Thus, emission reduction measures mainly focus on reducing automobile traffic, increasing the use of public transportation and greening the vehicle fleet. Locally, reducing speed can also have a positive effect, says the Flemish Environment Agency.
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