Groen identifies most polluted spot in Brussels

The Flemish ecologist party Groen has measured air pollution across the Brussels Region and has identified the exit of the Leopold II road tunnel outside Koekelberg Basilica as the most polluted location in the Belgian and Flemish capital.

Together with a set of concerned citizens test tubes have been placed at 190 spots across Brussels. In a fifth of cases measurements exceeded the EU norms. The Brussels authorities too have official measuring points where air pollution is recorded. There are nine across the Brussels Region. Environmentalists have argued for a while that these were insufficient prompting the present initiative by Belgium's two green parties and local volunteers.

The Brussels project mirrors a similar initiative in Flanders that was part-funded by the Flemish government. Green lawmaker Annemie Maes: "In Brussels we are doing the work of the Brussels government. What disturbs us most is the fact that the pollution norm is exceeded outside schools and crèches. The fact the norm isn't exceeded doesn't mean it's healthy either. There's no safe level for nitrogen dioxide (the substance measured)."

The EU air pollution norms were exceeded at 35 locations including the Louizalaan, the Flageyplein and the Meiserplein.

The ecologist parties intend to present their results to the Brussels government and press for action. Action in the courts may also be undertaken on the basis of the results. The greens say the recent banning of the most polluting diesel cars is insufficient and are pressing for smart road charging and a diesel ban by 2025.