Vlaardingen surpassed The Hague for worst air quality on New Year’s
The poorest air quality in the Netherlands at the start of New Year’s Day was measured in Vlaardingen. The Zuid-Holland city displaced nearby The Hague, which had the worst air quality early on January 1, 2022.
“In the first hours of 2023, short-term smog caused by particulate matter was measured in many cities in the Netherlands,” said public health institute RIVM. This was caused by fireworks set off to celebrate the new year. “As a result, the air quality was very poor in places for a short time, according to the Dutch Air Quality Index.”
The RIVM said that the highest concentration of particulate matter was found in Vlaardingen, where the measurement equaled 850 micrograms per cubic meter of air. In The Hague, the total from from 855 last year to 719 this year. The average was 178 in the first hour of the new year.
The high levels of particulate matter can impair lung function, and cause coughing, shortness of breath, or wheezing. It can also exacerbate asthma symptoms, and symptoms from other pulmonary illnesses. The situation was at its worst in the larger municipalities, said RIVM air quality researcher Joost Wesseling in an interview with ANP. “Almost all major cities had high peaks. So there are still many people who had to deal with this poor air quality."
The poor air quality was short lived, the RIVM said. “Due to the high wind speeds, the concentrations quickly dropped to the values before the fireworks.” A representative told the newswire that the air quality at 2:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day was about the same as at 8 p.m. the night before.
"If fireworks are set off, or particulate matter is released into the air, then these weather conditions are actually the best," said Wesseling. "In any case, fewer people suffer from it this way."