Brussels is the political center of Europe and the place where agreements on EU climate laws are concluded, but also it is one of the ten most polluted cities in Europe. Now he faces legal action from the EU so the city has a plan. It will have the help of its citizens to control the air quality from their homes.
The project is called Curieuzenair. Amandine and Geoffrey have signed up, concerned for their future and that of their family. “We were interested because we have 4 children here in the city and a lot of time away from our little flat here in Brussels. We spend a lot of time outdoors and we want better air quality for our children and for ourselves in the city.”, explica Geoffrey.
During the month of September, with the help of their children, The couple will measure the nitrogen dioxide concentration from their windowsill. Along with those of 3,000 other citizens, the data will be handed over to policy makers, such as the city’s mobility minister, Elke Van de Brandt, of the Green Party.
Since taking office in 2019, he has built 40 km of bike lanes and set a speed limit of 30 km per hour for cars. “The citizens of Brussels want better air quality and road safety for their city. So we know that people want to go in this direction. Our mobility plan has been co-created for 3 years and most of the people who have participated, we have More than 8000 reactions on a public proposal, which is a lot, have been positive, or most have been positive. People want to change the city. And of course getting it will create some friction. But we have to explain to people why it is better for everyone. “, detalla van den Brandt.
Someone who works with the same objective, but at a European level, is the Spanish socialist MEP Javi López. In a debate with the mobility minister on a television program on zero pollution for Green Week, the air pollution expert thinks it’s time to update the old regulations.“We started legislating on air quality in the 1980s. The reality is that we have been partially effective in improving air quality for Europeans. This is a good point. But the reality is, after 15, 20 years , the standards and opinion of the World Health Organization have changed and we must review and align the standards of our European legislation with the guidelines of the World Health Organization “, believes López
The european commission will propose a directive on air quality next yearBut unless it is binding and implemented in countries, cyclists, runners and people in parks across Europe will still have to endure pollution and damage to their health and skin.