Air quality in Genk

Air quality index (AQI) and PM2.5 air pollution in Genk

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What is the pollen count in Genk today?

Tree pollenLow
Grass pollenLow
Weed pollenNone
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What is the current weather in Genk?

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WeatherBroken clouds
Wind10.3 mp/h
Pressure30 Hg

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#cityUS AQI
1The national flag of USA Antwerpen, Flanders


2The national flag of USA Deurne, Flanders


3The national flag of USA Liège, Wallonia


4The national flag of USA Roeselare, Flanders


5The national flag of USA Beveren, Flanders


6The national flag of USA Zwijndrecht, Flanders


7The national flag of USA Charleroi, Wallonia


8The national flag of USA Gent, Flanders


9The national flag of USA Brussels, Brussels Capital


10The national flag of USA Saint-Nicolas, Wallonia


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What is the current air quality in Genk?

Air pollution levelAir quality indexMain pollutant
Good 48* US AQIPM2.5



PM2.5 concentration in Genk is currently 1.7 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value

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What is the current air quality in Genk?

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Genk air quality index (AQI) forecast

DayPollution levelWeatherTemperatureWind

Good 48 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon 100%
71.6° 59°
Wind rotating 255 degree 15.7 mp/h
Wednesday, Jul 24

Moderate 51 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon
73.4° 55.4°
Wind rotating 280 degree 6.7 mp/h
Thursday, Jul 25

Moderate 56 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon
75.2° 55.4°
Wind rotating 233 degree 4.5 mp/h
Friday, Jul 26

Moderate 51 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon 100%
68° 60.8°
Wind rotating 227 degree 8.9 mp/h
Saturday, Jul 27

Moderate 60 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon 100%
60.8° 57.2°
Wind rotating 208 degree 4.5 mp/h
Sunday, Jul 28

Moderate 62 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon 40%
69.8° 51.8°
Wind rotating 256 degree 8.9 mp/h
Monday, Jul 29

Moderate 63 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon
77° 55.4°
Wind rotating 38 degree 4.5 mp/h

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How to best protect from air pollution?

Reduce your air pollution exposure in Genk


What is the current level of air pollution in Genk?

Genk is a city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Limburg near Hasselt. It is one of the most important industrial towns in Flanders, located on the Albert Canal, between Antwerp and Liège. A survey was conducted in 2018 to determine the population. The results were an estimated population of approximately 66,000 people.

At the beginning of 2022, Genk was experiencing a period of “Moderate” air quality with a US AQI reading of 53. This United States Air Quality Index number is an internationally used set of metrics supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is used to compare the air quality in different cities throughout the world using comparable standards. It is calculated by using the levels of the six most commonly found pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide and both sizes of particulate matter, which are PM2.5 and PM10. If all six figures are not always available in which case, a level is calculated by using what data there is. Only two pollutants were measured in Genk which were PM2.5 - 13 µg/m³ and PM10 - 22 µg/m³.

This level of PM2.5 is just above the recommended safe level of 10 µg/m³ as suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as being an acceptable level. Although no amount of air pollution is considered to be safe.

When air pollution is classified as being “Moderate” the given advice would be to remain indoors as much as possible, closing doors and windows to prevent the ingress of more polluted air. Those who are more sensitive to poor quality air should avoid venturing outside until it improves. If this is unavoidable, then a good quality face mask should be worn at all times. All types of outdoor exercise should be avoided until the air quality improves. There is a downloadable app from which is suitable for all operating systems and gives the latest information regarding air quality in real-time.

Does the level of air pollution vary much throughout the year in Genk?

Air quality can be affected by many things, therefore it can and does change rapidly depending on the local conditions. Looking back at the 2020 figures published by, it can be seen that the year was split up into several sections as regards air quality. The months of February, July and October achieved the WHO target figure of being 10 µg/m³ or less. July was seen to be the cleanest month with a 7.4 µg/m³ figure. The next best months were May and June, August and September and December when “Good” quality air was experienced. Figures need to be between 10.1 and 12.0 µg/m³ to fall into this category. The remaining four months of January, March and April and November saw air quality from the “Moderate” bracket with figures between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³. Overall, the dirtiest month was April with a reading of 16.4 µg/m³.

There were no records kept regarding air quality before 2020 when an annual average figure was noted to be 11.6 µg/m³, but this lower figure was almost expected because it would have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as many vehicles were no longer in daily use because the offices were closed and the staff encouraged to work from home, in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus. Many factories and non-essential production units were also required to close which removed their emissions from the atmosphere, albeit on a temporary basis. Worldwide, cities reported a much better quality of air due to the general lack of traffic pollution in city centres due to the pandemic.

What is the source of the dirty air in Genk?

There is a lot of air pollution throughout Flanders due to industry and the high volume of traffic.

Industry, but even more so the large volume of traffic using the roads, is a major source of particulate matter.

Years ago, it became clear that the air quality in the vicinity of the large industrial area of Genk-South was poor. Since 2006, the Flemish Environment Agency has therefore been carrying out measurements on and in the vicinity of the area. The situation has improved recently, but still not good. In November last year, the measurements showed that the concentrations of heavy metals such as nickel, chromium and manganese were still high. As a result, local residents run an increased health risk.

Several companies are located in the industrial area in Genk-South that are responsible for the emission of air polluting substances. For example, the activities of a steel company are a source of heavy metals in the ambient air; a producer of chipboards, can give rise to odour nuisance and fine dust. The scrap companies are sources of PCBs and dioxins and a producer of high-quality adhesive tapes, which is a source of toluene in the ambient air. The air quality in the area has therefore been monitored for several years by the Flemish Environment Agency.

What can be done to improve air quality in Genk?

Companies in the industrial zone do make an effort, though one of the large companies in Genk-South is a steel processing company. It is investigating whether it can limit chromium emissions with a new installation.

In 2019, the European limit value for lead and the European target values for arsenic, cadmium and nickel were achieved. However, the concentrations of nickel, chromium and manganese in Genk remain the highest in the Flemish monitoring network. There are no European target values for chromium and manganese.

What are the detrimental effects of breathing polluted air in Gent?

From a health point of view, there is an increased risk of lung cancer in the vicinity of Genk-South due to the presence of heavy metals in the ambient air. This risk is not unacceptably high, but especially the concentrations of (hexavalent) chromium and to a slightly lesser extent nickel are not negligible from a health point of view. This risk is highest in the nearby residential areas to the northeast of the Genk-South industrial zone and decreases with increasing distance from a large steel company.

The deposition of dioxin-like PCBs in the vicinity of the scrap processing companies is also a point of attention. Local residents can avoid exposure to these PCBs by not eating eggs from their own chickens.

Where is the cleanest air quality in Genk?

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