(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 14 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Leuven air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors|
|Enjoy outdoor activities|
|Monday, Jun 27|
Good 17 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jun 28|
Good 10 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jun 29|
Good 21 US AQI
Good 14 US AQI
|Friday, Jul 1|
Good 19 US AQI
|Saturday, Jul 2|
Good 18 US AQI
|Sunday, Jul 3|
Good 28 US AQI
|Monday, Jul 4|
Good 24 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jul 5|
Good 26 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jul 6|
Good 24 US AQI
Interested in hourly forecast? Get the app
Leuven or Louvain is the capital and largest city of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located approximately 25 kilometres east of Brussels. According to a census conducted in 2018, it was estimated that Leuven had an approximate population of 101,396 people. This ranks it as the eighth largest city in Belgium.
At the beginning of 2022, Leuven was experiencing a period of “Moderate” air quality with a US AQI reading of 98. 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. The only pollutant measured in Leuven was PM2.5 which was noted to be 34.4 µg/m³.
This level of PM2.5 is just under three and a half times 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 advice that is offered 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 the situation improves. If this is unavoidable, then a high-quality face mask should be worn at all times. All types of outdoor exercise should be avoided until the air quality gets better. There is a downloadable app from AirVisual.com which is suitable for all operating systems and gives the latest information regarding air quality in real-time.
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 IQAir.com, it can be seen that for the months of February, June, July and October, Leuven achieved the WHO target figure of being 10 µg/m³ or less. The cleanest month was July with a low reading of just 5.9 µg/m³. The months of May, August and September saw air quality from the “Good” bracket with readings between 10.1 and 12.0 µg/m³. The remaining five months saw air quality classed as “Moderate” with readings between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³. The worst month being April with a recording of 20.5 µg/m³.
Records for air quality were first kept in 2019 when an annual average was recorded as being 14.6 µg/m³. This was followed in 2020 with a 12.5 µg/m³ figure. This lower figure 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.
Flanders is not doing well in terms of air pollution in Western Europe. The large conurbations (Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent) in particular remain problematic. The causes are well known: the high population density, the concentrated traffic network with intensive logistics transport, the extensive industry in a small area and the proximity of other major industries in the Ruhr area in Germany and the southern Netherlands. These are all very harmful to the air quality.
Leuven is trying to make the city centre a vehicle free zone. The project aims to raise awareness among the inhabitants of Leuven and demonstrates the importance of a car-free city centre and modal shift, for example for the health of its inhabitants. Together with the introduction of the circulation plan through the city of Leuven, this project aims directly at accelerating the modal shift from passenger cars to other, more sustainable means of transport such as bicycles and public transport.
It reduces the share of motorized traffic in the city centre (-8 per cent) and stimulates bicycle use (+32 per cent), which has a positive effect on air quality and therefore on our health. The introduction of the circulation plan has been a crucial step towards a liveable, healthy and ultimately climate neutral city. To follow up on the action, the city of Leuven will start new initiatives that will help to further map the air quality.
Recently, a large number of Leuven companies and organizations signed the 'ByeByeGrass Charter'. Due to the increasing drought and global warming, greenery is essential in the city. A lot of efforts have already been made in recent years in the field of greening the public space, but in Leuven the city council and dozens of organizations are switching up a gear. They are committed to consciously opting for varied mowing techniques and more variation in the greenery on their sites. Research shows that a closely mowed lawn has no added value in times of drought. That is why the landscaping service has been growing grass and sowing flowers for a while in some places.
This fine dust has a major impact on our health and that of our children. For example, research shows that children who grow up close to busy roads have less developed lungs and are more likely to have asthma. A Belgian study also shows that school children perform less well on days when there is more air pollution in the vicinity of the school.
Evidence is mounting that there is also a direct link with dementia and with heart and respiratory diseases. Numerous studies show that the effects are greatest within a radius of 500 meters. Good air quality is therefore of great importance for a healthy, liveable city.