Air pollution in Belgium responsible for more than 11,000 deaths in 2012
In 2012 in Belgium, 11,770 people died prematurely due to the effects of air pollution, according to a report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) concerning air quality in Europe, writes De Morgen.
According to the report, air pollution is directly linked to 432,000 premature deaths across Europe in 2012. No other form of environmental pollution creates a similar health risk, the report says, especially fine particulate matter in the air, which can cause cardiovascular and lung diseases. In addition, high concentrations of ground-level ozone and nitrogen dioxide emissions are very harmful to health, because they can lead to asthma and other respiratory disorders.
In Belgium in 2012, a total of 9,300 people died prematurely due to a condition caused by particulate pollution. Another 170 people died prematurely due to nitrogen dioxide, and 2,300 people due to high ozone levels in Belgium, according to the EEA's calculations.
"Despite continued improvements in recent decades, air pollution continues to affect the overall health of Europeans and reduce quality of life and longevity," says EEA director Hans Bruyninckx.
The EEA is urging European countries to comply with the air quality limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO), which are stricter than European standards.