This is what Belgium’s traffic-choked capital is doing about emissions

berlaymont 2019

Night panoramics of the European Commission Building Berlaymont, with traffic (European Union, 2016)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Emma Charlton, Senior Writer, Formative Content


Brussels is one of the most congested capital cities in the world, and one of the most polluted.

And with official data suggesting air pollution is getting worse, officials are under pressure to take action.

Now the city is set to make big changes. A pedestrian zone will bar cars from a large central area that used to be clogged with vehicles.

Good Move@BeGoodMove

Feu vert à Good Move, le plan de mobilité pour les dix prochaines années à Bruxelles https://bx1.be/news/feu-vert-a-good-move-le-plan-de-mobilite-pour-les-dix-prochaines-annees-a-bruxelles/#.XKX8frnwX10.twitter 

Feu vert à Good Move, le plan de mobilité pour les dix prochaines années à Bruxelles

Le gouvernement bruxellois a approuvé jeudi “Good Move“, le plan régional qui trace les grandes orientations à suivre pour améliorer la mobilité, dans le respect du cadre de vie et en améliorant la…

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The proponents of the project say it will improve quality of life by reducing air pollution, noise and stress, as well as reviving public spaces and making the city greener.

Image: WHO

Even so, Brussels is still heavily reliant on cars, and other cities are way ahead. Low-emission zones were introduced in Berlin and other German cities years ago, while London, which has been charging cars to enter its centre for more than a decade, has started imposed an additional fee on the most polluting vehicles. Oslo and Madrid are in the process of banning cars in some areas.

 Brussels is among the most congested cities in Europe.

Brussels is among the most congested cities in Europe.
Image: TomTom

Governments and city councils around the world are taking action to reduce air pollution, since more than 80% of people in urban areas are exposed to air quality levels that exceed the World Health Organization limits. The WHO says that as air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases increases for the people who live in them.

By 2050, more than two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities, according to the World Economic Forum report Agile Cities, which looked at how city can prepare for the future, including rising to the challenge of cleaner air.

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