Our air consists of many different pollutants. Some pollutants originate from natural processes, such as pollen, others from human activities. NO2 and fine dust are two types of air pollution on which we, as humans, have a great influence.
NO2 is a gas that is mainly produced during combustion processes, such as the engine of a car or the boiler in your home. At these high temperatures, a chemical reaction occurs between oxygen (O2) and nitrogen (N2), two gases that naturally occur in air. In Brussels, traffic is an important source of NO2. However, when NO2 values are too high, this can be harmful to our health. Breathing in too much NO2 can cause an infection of our lungs or trigger an asthma attack.
Particular matter is a collective term for all small particles in the air. Depending on their size, they are divided into different groups. The smaller the particles, the more dangerous they are. Not only do the smallest particles stay in the air the longest, they can also travel the furthest away from the source of the pollution and enter our bodies the easiest. The main sources of particulate matter are combustion in wood-burning stoves and traffic (due to combustion processes and as a result of the friction between the tyres and road surface when braking).