Largest-ever European air quality tests carried out in Antwerp
Clean air activist group Ringland is spearheading a research project to measure the NO2 levels in Antwerp in order to compare the results of future environmental initiatives
The partners will ask 1,000 Antwerpenaars to hang measuring tubes with sensors at the front of their flat, house, school, company or association headquarters from 30 April to 28 May. Scientists want to measure in detail the amount of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air, which is an important indicator for air pollution caused by traffic. It will be the largest-ever NO2 measurement project ever carried out in Europe.
The initiative can offer comparisons of pollution levels in different areas of the city and also give researchers a baseline with which to compare results of future projects aimed at improving the city’s air quality. Next year, the City of Antwerp is introducing a low-emissions zone, meaning that vehicles not conforming to environmental standards will not be allowed to drive in the city centre.
Ringland, a citizens’ group that campaigns for an alternative to the Flemish government’s BAM plan to join the Antwerp ring road, hopes that the ring will be covered in the future, making it essentially into a tunnel.
UAntwerp has recently set up similar projects in which citizens are actively involved. For the AIRbezen initiative, Antwerpenaars put 1,100 strawberry plants on windowsills so that researchers could measure the amount of fine dust in several areas.
To spearhead these kinds of projects, Ringland has organised a study department called the Ringland Academy.
Photo courtesy Ringland
Pollution in Flanders
months of life lost because of air pollution
alarm level for microgram level of fine particulates per cubic metre
billion greenhouse gas emissions in CO2 equivalents in Flanders in 2011