Belgium prepares export ban on toxic petrol

Oil companies are still exporting fuels with excessively high levels of sulphur or benzene, including from the Antwerp port area. These are fuels that have long been banned in Europe. Federal Environment minister Zakia Khattabi (Ecolo) and Energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten are preparing a royal decree to restrict exports.

According to Khattabi, toxic fuels - products containing very high levels of benzene and sulphur - have long been leaving Belgium for Africa, causing problems in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. The substances are not only bad for air quality, they are also carcinogenic.

Khattabi suspects that the trade has shifted even more to Belgium after the Netherlands introduced an export ban in April. As a result, she is working with Van der Straeten on a similar ban.

"There can be no double standards, especially when it comes to products that pollute and are dangerous to health"

Van der Straeten says the cooperation and the planned ban make sense "because the oil companies concerned are not taking responsibility themselves". "There can be no double standards, especially when it comes to products that pollute and are dangerous to health," she said.

Khattabi says she is aware that the ban will face opposition. "The Dutch example shows that the international oil companies that make money from dirty oil will fight the export ban tooth and nail, so I expect opposition at every step of the process to reach a legally valid RD," she said.



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