Earlier this year, VITO studied the air quality in Beringen and concluded that the measurements are similar to the overall air quality in Flanders. This spring, airQmap performed an additional measurement campaign by bicycle to further map the air quality. From January to early March, volunteers cycled a trajectory of 33 km through Beringen and surroundings 30 times with a measuring device to measure Black Carbon (BC), a component of fine particles.
Only on a few traffic-intensive places, increased amounts of BC were measured: at the Koolmijnlaan, the Stationsstraat, at the entrance and exit of the expressway (E313) and at the Beverlosesteenweg, before and over the bridge of the Albert Canal. Not only the traffic, but also the constructions, location of cycle paths, traffic islands and lights cause local differences in air pollution.
airQmap is a powerful platform which allows people with limited or no air pollution expertise, such as city personnel or volunteers, to carry out air quality measurements and to get a detailed view on the air quality at street level. This approach allows to produce air quality maps at a feasible cost for cities and municipalities. With airQmap, detailed exposure maps are produced based on mobile air quality measurements by cyclists or pedestrians. They allow to take the numerous influencing factors into account while offering a high level of detail. airQmap has been successfully used in cities such as Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels, Liege, Amsterdam and Oslo, and in Belgian municipalities such as Mol, Beringen and Zutendaal. Some of the resulting online maps can be consulted on the website: www.airqmap.com.
Beringen takes measures
The college and the relevant services of the city of Berigen will take into account the results by airQmap in new projects, such as the localisation of the bicycle bridge across the Albert Canal, the redesign of the Koolmijnlaan and the centre of Beringen, …
The agency for Care and Health also provided a health interpretation of the modelling of VITO. For this, the results of the modelling were compared to the standards of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which in many cases, are more stringent than European standards. Only fine particles approached or slightly exceeded the health guideline of 20 µg/m³ set by the WHO, in several residential areas. These concentrations are not negligible, yet relatively low compared to other areas in Flanders. The modeled concentrations for benzene are also comparable to the rest of Flanders; The carcinogenic risk is acceptable, but not negligible.
The conclusion is that the air quality in Beringen for the examined parameters is in line with air quality measurements in Flanders.
The results of these measurements are available at: www.airqmap.com/BERINGEN.
This spring, a noice study was conducted at Tervant. The results showed that there is not much room left for additional noice nuisance in this residential area. The college decided to give preference to noiceless companies in this neigbourhood and that companies that produce a lot of noise should respect a stricter standard.
These detailed reports can be found on www.beringen.be under the section milieu - luchtkwaliteit in Beringen.
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