Expatica news

Belgian smog warning

30 July 2004

BRUSSELS – The Belgian government has been criticised for failing to implement national ozone plans as Belgium faces smog warnings over the next few days.

The Wallonian Inter-Environment agency has called for urgent measures to tackle the causes of smog, including traffic polltion.

The federation of associations to defend the environment has estimated that road transport is responsible for 50 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions and 40 percent of volatile organisms in the air.

These gasses gather in the atmosphere and, with the help of the sun, form smog.

Environmentalists are urging the authorities to take speedy action.

Results can only be seen in the medium term, cautioned Nolwenn Lecuyer, from Inter-Environment.

While acknowledging the progress made in terms of traffic, she said not enough had been done to plan ahead, especially during hot weather.

Belgium’s recently appointed regional and federal environment ministers have been urged to step up their efforts and push the national plan forward.

But so far, the Wallonian Minister, Benoit Lutgen, and the Federal Minister, Bruno Tubback, have made no response to the demands.

Lecuyer has called for vehicles to be taxed per kilometre, rather than taxing people for just owning one.

She believes vehicles that pollute more should also be taxed, and that the revenue should be used to develop public transport.

Inter-Environment is pushing for better insulation of buildings, more efficient heating equipment and more support for renewable energy.

The association also recommends car-free days during the summer months.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian News