Concerns raised over Gelderland air quality; two babies per year die from breathing dirty air

Air pollution (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Zakysant)Air pollution (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Zakysant)

Despite improvements over the past years, the air in Gelderland is still anything but clean, according to a report from public health service GGD Gelderland-Midden. The researchers concluded that two babies per year die due to air pollution in the province and breathing the Gelderland air is, on average, equal to smoking six cigarettes per day, Omroep Gelderland reports.

Nijmegen and Arnhem have the most trouble with air pollution, mainly due to traffic. The air in the Gelderse Vallei is also very polluted, though there it is caused by cattle farming. On the Veluwe, the air is relatively clean, according to the broadcaster.

The GGD also noted the financial consequences of air pollution in the province. According to the report, illness and sick leave cost the province around 300 million euros per year. The province counts over 400 thousand days of sick leave caused by air pollution related illness per year. The cost of early death is estimated at 800 million euros per year. Gelderland residents on average die 374 days earlier due to air pollution.

GGD Gelderland-Midden is looking to a recent court case environmental organization Milieudefensie won against the Dutch State. The court ordered the State to do more against air pollution. The health organization is also making further suggestions to improve air quality in the province specifically, such as reducing the speed limit on the A325 at night and banning scooters from bicycle paths.