Environmental groups raise Brussels air quality concerns

European Environment Bureau produces lobby video highlighting levels of ‘unregulated’ ultrafine particulate matter levels in EU city

A video aimed at MEPs highlighting ultrafine particle levels in the EU headquarter city of Brussels has been produced by an environmental NGO as part of an air quality lobbying campaign.

The European Environment Bureau (EEB), which represents 140 environmental organisations, said it had produced the video to highlight “how important it is to improve the air we breathe” by showing MEPs in Brussels what the air “in the EU quarter in Brussels in like”.

Addressing MEPs in the city, the video, which can be viewed below, states: “It’s time for cleaner air. Everywhere. We’re counting on you.”

The video compares air pollution levels in the city to those in a “rural area in Denmark” claiming that levels of ultrafine particles in Brussels are “between 60 and 100 times over the clean air limit”.

In addition, the video states that ultrafine particle levels measured around the European Council buildings in Brussels are between “20 and 70 times over the clean air limit”, adding that 90% of people in cities in the EU are breathing unhealthy air.

Ultrafine particles, which are between 20 nanometres and 1 micrometre in size, are much smaller in size than PM2.5 particles but are not regulated by the EU, unlike other pollutants such as PM10 and nitrogen dioxide.

According to the EEB, ultrafine particles are the “most dangerous form of pollutants”, but it said that reducing pollution levels of PM10 and PM2.5 — which are regulated by the EU — would “also help to decrease numbers of ultrafine particles present in our air”.

The ultrafine particle levels Brussels were measured for the two-minute video using a P-Trak particle counter and show the number of particles present in one cubic centimetre of air.

The NGO also said that the European Commission’s proposed Clean Air Package of policies to improve air quality in Member States published last year “risks still leaving around 260,000 premature deaths in 20130 due to air pollution”.

It added that the health cost of these deaths is estimated at between 167 billion to 595 billion Euros (£210 billion to £750 billion).

The video was produced by the European Environmental Bureau, Transport & Environment, Client Earth, HEAL, AirClim and Soot Free for the Climate.


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eric keogh
eric keogh
9 years ago

See also the Global warming potential of particulates – 3200 x the value of Co2 over 20 years ( by mass)

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