Current COVID measures & Air Quality in Belgium / 15 02 2021

27/11/2020 Belgium announced stricter measurements to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus from the 1st of November 2020. The regulations introduced by the government imply reduced traffic activity as teleworking became mandatory where possible. Therefore, Airscan decided to evaluate the potential impacts of the national lockdown on the ambient air quality conditions in Brussels and Antwerp.

The results showed that the average concentrations of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) were slightly higher in November 2020 in comparison with the same period last year. On the other hand, the concentration of sulphur dioxide was 2.5 times lower in 2020 than in 2019 in Brussels. Oppositely, the average level of sulphur dioxide increased in 2020 by 250% in Antwerp. Finally, the average concentration of nitrogen dioxide gas decreased in both cities. The average nitrogen dioxide concentration decreased by 10% in Brussels, while a drop of 25% was observed in Antwerp.

In conclusion, it is not possible to make straightforward statements about dramatic air quality improvement. Air quality analysis is a complex process that includes multiple sources, nuances and parameters (transboundary pollution, climate conditions, wind speed and direction and etc.) that can easily change the final result.