The number of municipalities in the Netherlands that banned the release of balloons more than tripled over the past year, according to a study by De Noordzee foundation. The foundation is committed to getting such a ban implemented across the Netherlands, because the plastic in balloons is harmful to animals and the environment, NOS reports.
Before the end of this year Rotterdam and The Hague will ban the release of balloons. The city council in both cities approved such a ban on Wednesday. Utrecht is also discussing a ban this week and the expectation is that a majority in the city council will be in favor, NOS reports.
The Zeist city council decided to ban the release of balloons in the municipality. According to the council, it only causes litter in the environment. "These balloon remains are eaten by fish, birds and other animals and that causes animal suffering", the council said. RTL Nieuws reports.
The motion was accepted by a large majority on Tuesday evening. Zeist will add the ban on releasing balloons to the city's General Local Regulations.
Schools, businesses and associations will be informed of the ban, and the harmful consequences of releasing balloons, as soon as possible.
Dutch public works department Rijkswaterstaat is launching an investigation into what consequences small plastic particles that ended up in the Wadden sea after 291 containers fell off a ship in the North Sea last week will have for animals in the area. The investigation will be done in cooperation with scientific institute Waddenacademie in Leeuwarden.
Dutch public works department Rijkswaterstaat and shipping company MSC have located around 220 of an estimated 281 containers that fell off ship MSC Zoe in the North Sea last week. Most of the containers, located with the help of sonar boats, are at the bottom of the North Sea, near the Wadden Islands, a spokesperson for Rijkswaterstaat said to NU.nl.
The Ministry of Defense deployed 100 soldiers to assist in cleaning up sea containers and their content that washed ashore on the Wadden Islands. Some 270 containers fell from cargo ship MSC Zoe near Germany during the early hours of Wednesday morning. Around 35 containers washed ashore on the Wadden Islands. Friesland and Groningen on the mainland also found containers and their content, NU.nl reports.
The soldiers will start cleaning up the beaches on the Wadden Islands on Friday. Some soldiers had to come back from their Christmas holidays to help, according to the newspaper.
Dutch man Boyan Slat's Ocean Cleanup project is not working quite as it should. The system is moving too slowly to hold on to the plastic it collects in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But Slat is confident that this problem can be solved, he said on Twitter.
"Most aspects of concept have been confirmed (wind vaning, intercepting plastic, wave following) - it's just not moving fast enough yet. This is fixable", he said.
The Den Bosch city council decided on Tuesday night to ban the release of helium balloons in the municipality. The balloons pollute nature and are dangerous for animals, the council parties who supported the ban said, NU.nl reports.
The Dutch government wants to implement a flight tax of 7 euros per plane ticket, regardless of the destination. The government previously considered a tax of 3.80 euros for flights within Europe and 22 euros for intercontinental flights, but opted for a fixed amount to make the Tax Authority's job easier, sources in The Hague confirmed to NU.nl after reports in RTL Nieuws.
Animal party PvdD will press charges against VVD party leader Klaas Dijkhoff on Tuesday for environmental pollution. Dijkhoff released 500 balloons at a VVD congress in Den Bosch on Saturday, AD reports.
With the release of the balloons, Dijkhoff responded to accusations that he released too many "test balloons" in his political work. He asked the the attendees of the congress to write down political ideas, which were attached to the balloons and released into the air.
Airlines will pay an average of 7.9 percent more for the use of Schiphol airport in the coming three years. Schiphol is also making it more attractive for companies that use cleaner and quieter planes to use the airport, was revealed in the new tariffs Schiphol released for the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2022, NU.nl reports.
Over the weekend rescue organization for sea mammals EHBZ had to respond twice to dead seals washed up in the Netherlands. Both animals suffocated after getting trapped in plastic waste, the organization said on Facebook.
One seal washed ashore at Ouddorp in Zuid-Holland. It had a plastic frisbee around its neck. The other seal was taken from the water at Brouwersdam. It was entangled in, and almost decapitated by, a fishing net.
The great ocean cleanup by 24-year-old Dutch man Boyan Slat and his company Ocean Cleanup is finally underway. Slat's 600 meter long 'plastic catcher' departed from San Francisco on Saturday and is on its way to clean up the plastic soup in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii, NOS reports.
Over 2,700 volunteers are participating in the sixth edition of the Boskalis Beach Cleanup Tour, the annual cleaning action organized by the North Sea Foundation. Over the next two weeks, they will clean up the entire stretch of North Sea beaches in the Netherlands, the Telegraaf reports.
The cleanup started on Wednesday with two teams of volunteers - one team starting at Cadzand in the south and the other at Schiermonnikoog. Each day the cleaning teams will get closer to each other, until they finish together in Zandvoort.
Hundreds of oil covered swans were captured out of the water at Maassluis and taken to a bird shelter on Sunday, following an oil spill in the Derde Petroleum port in Rotterdam on Saturday. Around 15 animal ambulances and several boats from the fire brigade helped to capture the animals. There is great concern that several swans will not survive, RTL Nieuws reports.
Every year the Netherlands incurs 31 billion euros worth of damage to the environment through the emission of harmful substances, according a study by the Netherlands' environmental assessment agency PBL. That amounts to 4.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product, NU.nl reports.
Pension investors ABP and Aegon together invest more than a billion euros into polluting oil sands. Insurer NN Groep and pension fund PFZW together invest 119 million euros in this sector, according to research by environmental organization Greenpeace, the Volkskrant reports.
McDonald's in the Netherlands plans to get rid of all plastic straws with their drinks from next year. What they will be replaced with, is still being decided, RTL Nieuws reports.
The Dutch branch of McDonald's is currently looking at how tests go in other countries before deciding on what alternative to go for. "You can think of straws made of paper or no straw at all", a spokesperson said to the broadcaster. "Think of a tute like with coffee cups."
The company plans to choose its alternative by the end of the year.
The Nigerian Air Force is prepared to help Shell protect its pipelines in the African country using newly acquired drones, should Shell ask for that help, Air Force commander Sadique Abubakar said, ANP reports.
The Dutch oil giant regularly faces criticism in Nigeria due to pollution. On the mainline, Shell pipelines are often drained and sabotaged, resulting in heavy pollution, according to the oil company. Critics blame the large environmental damage on outdated pipelines and negligence on Shell's part.
Albert Heijn wants to stop using plastic bags in its fruit and vegetable departments. The Dutch supermarket chain will start experimenting with alternatives in 10 stores this summer, a spokesperson for Albert Heijn said to RTL Nieuws.
"Reducing plastic has had our attention for some time", the spokesperson said. "The so-called loop bags at the cash register have become thinner and smaller, so we save about 10 percent of plastic, and containers with soft fruit now have plastic foil as a lid instead of a hard plastic lid."
The government's climate plans will hit low-income earners in the Nehterlands the hardest, while businesses will see little change in their climate taxes, according to a study by research agency CE Delft on behalf of environmental group Milieudefensie, the Volkskrant reports.
The previous Energy Agreement, implemented in 2013, already hit low income earners harder than high income earners. The new Climate and Energy Agreement - talks on which are expected to start at the end of this month - will increase this inequality, the researchers conclude.
A high level of air pollutants triggered a Friday smog warning for the Netherlands, with possibility of "insufficient" air quality over the weekend. Air quality in the Randstad municipalities and in the south of the Netherlands was expected to be "poor", the Dutch health authority RIVM said in a statement.
More micro-plastics are ending up in food and the main culprit is the washing of synthetic clothing in the washing machine, according to a new study by the Plastic Soup Foundation, ANP reports.
Dutch inventor Boyan Slat's Ocean Cleanup project received an extra investment of 21.7 million dollars. That brings the total up to 31.5 million dollars in donations received since 2013 - enough to start large scale testing. The company hopes to launch a large test in the Pacific Ocean by autumn, RTL Nieuws reports.
The biggest part of the new investment consists of donations from Marc and Lynne Benioff and an anonymous donor, according to the company.