The European Union's policy on air quality led to much cleaner air in the Netherlands, according to a study by public health institute RIVM. Without the European measures implemented since the 1970s, air pollution in the country would be much higher and the average life expectancy in the Netherlands would be about six years lower, the RIVM said.
People who live near Schiphol airport are regularly exposed to increased concentrations of ultra-fine particles in the air, which can have an effect on their health. On days that the wind blows from Schiphol, children with respiratory diseases show more symptoms and more often have to use their medication, according to the interim results of a study by public health institute RIVM, Utrecht University, and the Amsterdam academic medical center AMC.
Climate change and particulate matter are the biggest health risks this century, according to a report by 27 global organizations, doctors, academics and policy experts published in medical journal Lancet. The same applies to particulate matter, which in the Netherlands alone caused an estimated 8 thousand deaths, said Peter Blankestijn, one of the Dutch participants in the study, RTL Nieuws reports.
The Dutch State does not have to take extra measures to comply with the European standards on particulate matter emissions, the court in The Hague ruled on Tuesday. The government does not have to take an extra safety margin into account when, for example, expanding highways or increasing the speed limit, the court ruled, RTL Nieuws reports.
Between the years 2000 and 2016, companies in the Netherlands' production methods have become cleaner and they used relatively less raw materials. Companies that are involved in environmental protection and natural resources are also doing well - their production and employment opportunities increased, Statistics Netherlands reported in its Green Growth report on Monday.
Easter bonfires are causing an increased concentration in particulate matter in the air in some parts of the Netherlands, particularly in Overijssel and Achterhoek. "Especially people with lung diseases such as asthma and COPD, and (older) people with cardiovascular disease may suffer", public health institute RIVM warns, NOS reports.
According to the RIVM, the problem lies in the calm weather with not much wind. As a result, smoke and particulate matter can remain in place for a long time. The institute warns people to avoid the smoke as much as possible.
On Wednesday the court in The Hague ruled against Milieudefensie in a lawsuit filed by the environmental group to force the Dutch government to take more measures to reduce air pollution. According to the court, the Dutch State is taking sufficient measures to improve air quality, NU.nl reports.
Vondelpark is the only place in Amsterdam that meets the strict air quality standards of the World Health Organization, according to the city's annual publication Amsterdam in figures 2017. Air quality in the rest of the city is improving, but the air still contains too much particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, RTL Nieuws reports.
Air quality was measured in ten spots throughout the Dutch capital for this publication. In the area of particulate matter, air quality in Amsterdam does meet the European standards, which are less stringent than those of the WHO.
In the summary proceedings court on Wednesday, environmental organization Milieudefensie demanded that the Dutch state immediately implement measures to reduce air pollution. Campaign leader Anne Knol calls it "absolutely necessary that measures be taken quickly to make the air healthier", NOS reports.
The organization already filed an ordinary lawsuit for this, but Milieudefensie thinks this will take too long.