Netherlands air quality violates European benchmark

Air quality in the Netherlands does not meet European standards. A number of places in the country has more nitrogen dioxide in the air than the maximum permitted annual average of 40 micrograms per cubic meter, according to a report Milieudefensie is handing to Amsterdam alderman Abdeluheb Choho on Wednesday, ANP reports.

The report is based on measurements Milieudefensie, the Dutch Friends of the Earth, took last year. They checked nearly 60 spots for a year. The nitrogen dioxide limit was exceeded in 11 places. The air quality is particularly bad on busy urban roads with lots of traffic.

In Stahdouderskade in Amsterdam and Hoefkade in The Hague, an annual average of 46 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic meter was measured.

The environmental organization is calling for cleaner cars, lower speed limits and promoting the use of bicycles and public transport. "Every  year thousands of people die from unhealthy air", Milieudefensie said. "Municipality and government really need to take drastic measures."

"Clean and healthy air is important, so I think it's good that Milieudefensie too keeps drawing attention to it", State Secretary Sharon Dijksma of Infrastructure and Environment said to the news wire. She added that RIVM tests only show a few problems in inner cities. "To solve them I have developed an action plan with the municipalities", she said.