Bonfires responsible for 6% of PAH emissions in Netherlands

Preparations for the New Year's bonfire on Scheveningen beach, 31 Dec 2017
Preparations for the New Year's bonfire on Scheveningen beach, 31 Dec 2017. (Photo: Maurits Verbiest/Wikimedia Commons)

Bonfires lit in the Netherlands throughout the year are responsible for 6 percent of the annual emissions of PAH, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons - harmful substances that are released when organic material is burned, public health institute RIVM said on Wednesday. The emission of PAH in the country has fallen by two thirds over the past 30 years, NU.nl reports.

In 1990 some 21 thousand kilograms of PAH were emitted in the Netherlands. That number has since shrunk to 6 thousand kilograms per year, according to the RIVM. The decrease is mainly due to the fact that industry started to reduce its burning of organic substances. The strongest decrease was seen in the nineties, the health institute said. PAH emissions in traffic also decreased over the past years.

The largest share of PAH emissions currently come from the burning of organic substances in and around the house. Such as by cooking or barbecuing. 

The RIVM also calculated traditional bonfires' share for the first time this year. Bonfires are responsible for 6 percent of the annual PAH emissions. 

Bonfires are a big tradition in the Netherlands and they are lit at various events throughout the year. The best known are the Easter bonfires in the east of the country, and the New Year's bonfires on the beaches in Scheveningen and Duindorp. This year many municipalities in Overijssel, Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe banned Easter bonfires, due to the increased risk of wildfires caused by the drought. The bonfire in Scheveningen this New Year's caused multiple fires

Tags: