Belgium has second-worst air quality in Europe
The Environmental Performance Index assessed countries' environment according to 16 criteria, including water consumption, overfishing and pollution, La Libre Belgique newspaper quoted the study.
The study found Brussels had an average annual concentration of fine particles of 15 microgrammes per cubic metre - higher than the safe limit of 10 set by the World Health Organization but below the European safe limit of 25.
According to the European Environment Agency, 12,000 premature deaths in Belgium each year - and 400,000 across Europe - can be blamed on air pollution, with fine particles responsible for cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses including pneumonia, lung cancer and stroke. ■