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Brussels collaborates with Bloomberg Philanthropies on clean air initiative

The Brussels Clean Air Partnership aims to implement a wide range of projects to support policy to reduce air pollution, including the use of low-cost monitoring devices to provide critical data.

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The initiative supports the EU's goals set out in the European Green Deal to cut pollution
The initiative supports the EU's goals set out in the European Green Deal to cut pollution

Brussels is embarking on an initiative to improve air quality in the city through innovation, research and monitoring, citizen engagement and education programmes with Bloomberg Philanthropies.

 

The city will deploy more than 3,000 measuring devices to map air pollution exposure and identify air pollution hotspots. Additionally, 220 school children from different socio-economic backgrounds will be monitored for exposure to air pollutants in school and at home.

 

Pollution levels

 

The Brussels Clean Air Partnership study, launched alongside Bloomberg Philanthropies’ ongoing work across Europe, is intended to support the European Union’s goals set out in the European Green Deal to cut pollution levels in cities.

 

The partnership will bring together government, universities as well as local and international research centres and NGOs in a science-based, coordinated initiative to curb air pollution throughout the Brussels-Capital Region.

“By bringing together this large coalition of stakeholders around the same objective, Brussels now has a crucial advantage to successfully undertake the transition to a low-carbon society”

Air pollution poses a critical public health risk, claiming more than 400,000 premature deaths in Europe every year, according to research from the European Environmental Agency and an estimated 9,000 lives every year in Belgium alone. Other studies also show a strong correlation between exposure to particulate matter and increased cases of Covid-19.

 

“Today, people living in Brussels are exposed to unacceptable levels of air pollution. Protecting the health of our citizens and taking transformative actions to make our city greener must be our priority,” said Alain Maron, Brussels’ minister for climate change, environment and energy.

 

“To do this, we will need everyone. By bringing together this large coalition of stakeholders around the same objective, Brussels now has a crucial advantage to successfully undertake the transition to a low-carbon society.”

 

The projects were designed and will be implemented by local organisations including Hasselt University, the University of Antwerp, the International Council on Clean Transportation and NGOs such as the BRAL, Hypothèse and Les Chercheurs d’Air.

 

The partnership will support Brussels’ efforts to reduce air pollution across these key initiatives:

  • monitoring air pollution: Les Chercheurs d’Air and BRAL will mobilise Brussels residents and schools to monitor air pollution levels over time by taking air quality measurements in playgrounds in schools, outside homes, and other locations across the city. The data will create a map of air pollution exposure and identify air pollution hot spots
  • measuring vehicle emissions: diesel cars remain the main source of air pollution in Brussels. The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) will conduct measurements on vehicle emissions in key Brussels locations to identify the vehicles that contribute to the greatest air pollution in the city and their real-world emissions
  • assessing health impacts on children: Hasselt University will research the health impacts of air pollution on 220 school children of different socio-economic backgrounds by monitoring their exposure to air pollutants in school and at home
  • developing air quality curriculum: Hypothèse will help teachers integrate air quality lessons into education programmes throughout kindergarten, primary and secondary level in 130 schools by developing educational activities and tools to help raise awareness on the sources and impacts of air quality in Brussels.

The data collected by the Brussels Clean Air partnership projects will be made available to the public and will be used to inform the policies implemented by the Brussels Government to combat air pollution in the region. These actions include drastically scaling-up sustainable mobility practices and committing to the gradual phase out of diesel vehicles by 2030 and of petrol and LPG by 2035.

 

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