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Warning as winter smog lingers over nation

Published on 01/02/2006

1 February 2006

BRUSSELS — As high readings of air pollution were again recorded across Belgium on Wednesday, the inter-governmental environment authority warned the cloud of winter smog would still be hovering above the country on Thursday.

The Inter-regional Cell for the Environment said the level of fine particles in the air was substandard to poor on Wednesday. On a scale of one (very good) to 10 (very poor), a score of seven (substandard) was recorded in Brussels and Ghent.

The cities of Liège and Charleroi were worse off with a score of eight (poor). The only average score (six) was recorded in Antwerp, newspaper ‘Het Gazet van Antwerpen’ reported.

The high level of pollution is being caused primarily by the current unusual weather situation, which is characterised by temperature inversions and low wind speeds.

The weather pattern has led to a reduced dilution of air pollution at various locations across the country. This has resulted in high concentrations of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, benzene and fine particles.

The environment authority warned that high concentrations of air pollution can lead to health complaints.

Dependent on the concentration of air pollution, the length of exposure, a person’s sensitivity and their activities, a person may suffer breathing difficulties or their breathing problems may worsen.

The public has been advised to avoid as much as possible any extended physical exertion.

Winter smog was also reported last weekend. The pollution was caused by badly polluted air from Eastern Europe blowing across to Belgium. Air quality readings of eight (poor) and nine (very poor) were recorded over the weekend.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news