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Belgium observes Car Free Sunday

23 Sep 2019, 02:17 ( 21 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
People cycle along a main avenue on the occasion of annual car free day in downtown Brussels, Belgium, Sept. 22, 2019. Photo Xinhua/Zhang Cheng.

Car Free Sunday was observed Sunday in several Belgian cities, including the capital city of Brussels.

   In Brussels, the objective of this 2019 edition was to reduce the impact of mobility on air quality, as the EU seeks to further explore the effects of mobility on health.

   "We are seeing a 70 percent drop in car-related pollutants compared to other Sundays in Brussels," said Frans Fierens, administrative director at Belgian Interregional Environment Agency.

   According to figures provided by the Brussels Ministry of Mobility in Brussels, each year, 632 premature deaths are caused by poor air quality. This mediocrity is mainly due to car mobility, which is directly responsible for 69 percent of harmful gas emissions and 50 percent of fine particle emissions.

   Car Free Sunday applies to everyone and all cars, except public transport vehicles, taxis, coaches, emergency services, disabled people with cards, diplomatic corps and public utility vehicles.

   The whole Brussels region was closed to traffic from 9:30 am until 7 pm.

   Car-free Sunday coincided with the end of the "European Mobility Week", which ran from Sept. 16 to 22.

   Since 2002, the European Mobility Week aims to improve public health and the quality of life of European citizens by promoting clean mobility and sustainable urban transport.

   This year's European Mobility Week focuses on safe walking and cycling, and the benefits they can have for "people's health, environment and bank balance".