Exposure to particulate matter

In 2017, the population weighted average concentration of particulate matter in Belgium was 12.9 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must be reduced to 10. This objective will be reached by continuing the trend since 2000. Exposure to particulate matter is therefore developing favourably.

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Exposure to particulate matter - Belgium - trend assessment

micrograms PM2.5 per cubic metre, population weighted average

 200020052010201520162017202020252030
observations14.515.017.713.513.312.9------
trend and extrapolation14.216.517.214.614.013.412.010.710.0
objective 203010.010.010.010.010.010.010.010.010.0

Eurostat (2018), Urban population exposure to air pollution by particulate matter [sdg_11_50], https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 29/09/2018); calculations FPB.

Exposure to particulate matter - Belgium and international comparison

micrograms PM2.5 per cubic metre, population weighted average

 20002005201020122015201620172017//20002017//2012
Belgium14.515.017.716.113.513.312.9-0.7-4.3
EU2814.415.518.116.814.613.814.1-0.1-3.4
//: Average Growth Rates

Eurostat (2019), Urban population exposure to air pollution by particulate matter [sdg_11_50], https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 27/03/2019).

Definition: the exposure to particulate matter (PM2,5) measures the concentration of particles with a diameter of less than 2.5µm in Belgian cities, expressed in micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³). Those particles are mainly emitted during combustion processes (motors, boilers, etc.) and in certain industrial and agricultural activities. Due to the higher concentration of this type of activities in urban areas, the concentrations are measured there in priority. In order to calculate this indicator, the measured concentrations are adjusted based on the population. The data are compiled by the Interregional Cell for the Environment and are available on the Eurostat website.

Goal: the exposure to particulate matter must not exceed a maximum level of 10µg/m³ (annual average concentration).

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 11.6: “By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.

The Federal Long-Term Strategic Vision for Sustainable Development contains objective 35: “Emissions of pollutants, such as [...] particulate matter, [...], will be significantly reduced and air (indoor and outdoor), water and soil pollution will no longer have a significant - direct or indirect - impact, neither on health nor on the environment” (Belgian Official Gazette, 08/10/2013). In addition, in its Air quality guidelines - global update 2005, the World Health Organization proposes a maximum level of 10µg/m³ for the annual average concentrations of PM2.5.

International comparison: between 2000 and 2017, the average concentrations observed in Belgium reach similar levels as in the EU28. When Member States are divided into three groups, Belgium is part of the group with average performances in 2017 and performs better than the European average.

UN indicator: the selected indicator corresponds to 11.6.2 - Annual mean levels of fine particulate matter (e.g. PM2.5 and PM10) in cities (population weighted).

Sources

  • SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals: United Nations (2015), Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, document A/RES/70/1.

  • Indicators: United Nations (2017), Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017, document A/RES/71/313.

  • UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/ (consulted on 26/04/2019).

  • Sustainable Development Goal indicators website: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/ (consulted on 26/04/2019).

More information is available in FR (French) and NL (Dutch).