A Belgian Eye – Episode 127

Our resident Belgian Philippe Persoons takes a look at life through A Belgian Eye.

So what exactly did Philippe get up to in his younger days? And how does that tie in with the ever increasing levels of pollution? This weeks episode is on fire , in more ways than one . . . . . .

Hello and welcome on a Belgian Eye

Not only traffic and industry are responsible for air pollution in this country, wood combustion is also a major culprit. The Flemish Environment Agency (VMM) discovered that Wood fires are responsible for 48% of particulate matter pollution in Flanders. Traffic only contributes 17%.

Therefore, the agency will send out warnings on days of smog alert. They will ask the people not to use unnecessarily the wood stove. The agency stresses that they will not focus the people who depend solely on burning wood to heat their homes. But just don’t use it only to create some atmosphere. At this moment there will be no fines coupled to the heating advice. It is simply intended to raise awareness.

To be honest, I have been waiting for this. I mean, I remember how I liked to burn Styrofoam in the garden. On days that we cleaned up the garage or the attic I was always volunteer to do the burning job. I imagined my rubbish heap to be a big factory on fire. I liked to see the flames getting it all in their grasp, melting and finally all collapsing down.

No I’m no pyromaniac, but as a child I might have had some naturel disaster tourism skills. But now I’m a grown up, educated and I don’t play such things no more. I’m no disaster tourist and I’m sure I’ll try to help when I can.

And of course I don’t burn Styrofoam anymore, I don’t even dare to think about that. For we have arrived in another society way back from the dirty seventies, the era when children could be asked to burn the rubbish, the era when people spoiled fuel in smoking cars and mopeds and factories spit stench. I remember names as Vilvoorde being synonym for stinking city.

But not anymore. The canal area in my city Leuven doesn’t smell anymore, Vilvoorde has become a nice centre to live, we sort waste and our cars are more and more electric. Ok, we haven’t finished yet but we definitely are heading to a cleaner world. Let’s cheer for that.

If not …

I’m also happy to be old enough to know what the smell is of the real ancient wood stove in the house. I’m also happy to have lived in a small forest, with nothing but that wood stove. I’m a little bit sad that all nice memories of things that puts you closer to nature are slipping away. We are too many and doing things the old way is too dirty.
The more we have to care for nature the more we will have to stay away from it.

How difficult it may be, accept you new ecological apartment. Stay out of nature but try to stay friends with it.

And have a nice day.