N02 concertation guidelines exceeded in 1 in 3 municipalities

The European air pollution guidelines are exceeded at least one location in a third of Flemish municipalities. That’s according to the results of the “CurieuzeNeuzen” initiative in which 20,000 Flemings from across the region took part. During the month of May they measured concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in their street. The result show that not only were guideline levels for nitrogen dioxide exceeded at locations in the big cities, but also in towns and even villages. 


2.3% of the 20,000 measurements carried out noted concentrations of nitrogen dioxide in excess of the WHO safety guideline of 40 micrograms/M³. Nitrogen dioxide is a gas that is damaging to health. It is contained in the emissions from vehicle exhausts and as such measurements of NO2 concentrations provide a good indication of levels of pollution that can be attributed to traffic. 

The lowest concentration (10.9 µg/m3 was measured in the extreme east of the region in the village of Remersdaal, in Voeren (Limburg Province). Meanwhile, the highest concentration (75.3 µg/m3) was also to be found in Limburg, at a crossroads on a busy dual carriageway in Houthalen-Helchteren.

The threshold level of 20 µg/m3 was exceed at 60% of measuring stations. The World Health Organisation starts measuring the impact of the impact on health of NO2 one concentrations exceed 20 µg/m3.   

In the draft of the Flemish Air Quality Plan NO2 concentrations of 20 µg/m3 throughout the region are given as a goal to be achieved by 2030.

The average NO2 concentration measured was 22.8 µg/m3.

Antwerp University’s Filip Meysman who was the project’s scientific advisor told journalists. "A majority of Flemings live at locations where the impact of traffic on air quality is limited”.   

However despite concentrations of NO2 being relatively low in much of prominently rural areas such as Pajottenland, Hageland (Flemish Brabant) the Flemish Ardennes (East Flanders) and the Limburg Kempen and Voeren (Limburg) there are still higher concentrations in the centre of some villages in predominantly rural areas.