Dangerous air pollution levels around Schiphol: Environmentalists

TNO determined that the amount of particulate matter in residential areas in Amsterdam and Amstelveen is two times higher than normal when the wind is blowing from the direction of Schiphol.

Friends of the Earth (Milieudefensie) says that this causes great health damage, shorter life expectancy and calls the results extremely worrying. "The only solution is to fly less." The Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (Iras) of the Utrecht University reports that there are "possible" health risks that are comparable to "living close to a busy highway". TNO, GGD Amsterdam and Iras emphasize that only further research can provide clarity about the actual health risks.

TNO took measurements of ultra-fine particles from March to May this year in the Bos in Amsterdam and combined the results with meteorological data and air traffic. According to TNO, the emissions of a rising plane is 50 times higher than that of a landing plane.

According to Friends of the Earth, a rising airliner emits as much pollution as one million trucks riding at 80 kilometers per hour. "The analyzes show that air pollution caused by air traffic leads to an average loss of life of four months to more than a year for 44 thousand residents. This is in addition to the deteriorating health that they anyway experience through air pollution from traffic and other sources." Friends of the Earth claims that the fine particles considerably increases the risk of serious diseases such as cancer, lung disease and cardiovascular disease.

According to the environmental organization, thanks to the emissions, the lives of every Amsterdam resident is one month shorter. For residents of West and Zuid it is two months, and four months for those living in Amstelveen and Badhoevedorp. "There are no technological solutions to make the jet engines of aircraft much cleaner." Many of Schiphol's destinations can be reached within twelve hours by land, say Friends of the Earth.


Related stories