The measures implemented to combat the spread of coronavirus in the Netherlands and in neighboring countries have had the side effect of reducing air pollution, a study organized by Dutch meteorological agency KNMI reveals. By analyzing satellite measurements from between 2019 and 2020, the KNMI estimates that there has been a significant drop off in the amount air pollution above the Netherlands of anywhere between 20 and 60 percent.
Fifteen European countries and 66 companies have entered into a partnership committed to making all plastic packaging recyclable and suitable for reuse. The European Plastic Pact started when Dutch Environment Minister Stientje van Veldhoven made agreements with Dutch companies and then turned to her European colleagues to do the same. She is presenting the plan in Brussels on Friday, NOS reports.
Car owners in the Netherlands will pay 147 million euros more in road taxes next year than this year, according to Statistics Netherlands. The increase is partly due to the growing fleet of vehicles, higher rates, and the particulate matter tax that will be implemented. In total, the government and provinces expect to collect almost 6.1 billion euros in road tax in 2020.
The road tax, or motor vehicle tax, consists of a government part and a part collected by the provinces. The government expects to collect 131 million euros more next year, the provinces 16 million euros more.
Shell turned to court to demand that all Greenpeace protests be banned on and around the four Brent oil platforms in the British part of the North Sea. In mid-October Greenpeace protested on two of the no-longer-in-use platforms, demanding that Shell dismantle and remove the platforms. A court in Scotland will rule on this case on Thursday, NOS reports.
Greenpeace is planning a multi-day 'protestival' at Schiphol airport over the weekend of December 14th. The aim of this event is to draw attention to the airport's impact on the environment. "Because when it comes to how we are going to stop the climate crisis, Schiphol remains awfully quiet", campaign leader Dewi Zloch said to Het Parool.
People in the Netherlands use 26 billion pieces of plastic food packaging per year - 1,500 pieces of plastic per Dutch person per year, or four per day, according to a study by ING Economic Bureau. And plastic consumption continues to grow along with the population, increasing by around 100 million pieces of packaging every year, NOS reports.
At least a few dozen Dutch people were forced to move due to the air quality around their home, according to a study by the Long Fonds. These involve people who became so sick from the air pollution in their environment, that it seriously affected the quality of their life, AD reports.
The latest images from Dutch space instrument Tropomi, which maps air pollution around the globe, shows that India is the new top polluter in the world. Also, research shows that the Netherlands has one of the highest concentrations of nitrogen dioxide in Europe, Pieternel Levelt, head of satellite observation at Dutch meteorological institute KNMI and professor at TU Delft, said to newspaper AD.
As the industry is failing to reduce the number of single-use plastic bottles ending up in the trash and littering the streets and nature, State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven of Infrastructure and Water Management has decided to move up her decision on introducing a deposit on small plastic bottles.
Volunteers from foundation Duik de Noordzee Schoon dove 2,500 kilograms of waste out of the North Sea. The team spent nine days searching the seabed for items that are harmful to the ecosystem, focussing on ship wrecks between Ameland and Schiermonnikoog, the foundation said in a statement.
According to the foundations, ship wrecks are a source of marine life, but also hold on to a lot of waste. Fish get entangled in old fishing nets that got caught up on the wrecks, and plastic ends up in the food chain.
The quality of the Netherlands' drinking water sources is at serious risk, partly due to pollution with chemical substances, medicine residues and manure, according to a study by KWR, the knowledge institute for the drinking water sector. The drinking water companies call for immediate intervention, AD reports.
Between 10 thousand and 15 thousand Dutch people die each year from the effects of air- and noise pollution. The health risks are particularly high around Schiphol and Amsterdam. Randstad residents are three times more likely to get cardiovascular diseases or serious lung diseases from pollution than people living in Drenthe, Groningen or the islands, for example, RTL Niews reports based on its analysis of RIVM estimates and figures.
A total of 2,568 volunteers picked up 10,991 kilograms of waste on Dutch beaches during the North Sea foundation's great cleanup, the foundation announced at the end of the two-week long cleanup campaign on Thursday. Last year, 11,163 kilograms of trash was removed from Dutch beaches, Het Parool reports.
Volunteers for the North Sea Foundation's large beach clean-up campaign picked up 2,542 cigarette butts on the beach between Hoek van Holland and Monster on Saturday. The 85 volunteers collected a total of 191 kilograms of waste on this stage of the weeks-long clean-up, NU.nl reports.
Since 2010 Dutch banks and insurers provided around 7.9 billion euros in financing to large shale gas and plastic companies, according to research by the Fair Banking and Insurance Guide. ING was the largest Dutch financier for these companies, investing 3.5 billion euros into them, NU.nl reports.
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.
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.
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. The results will also show which measures can be taken so that the Wadden Sea is better protected, NU.nl reports.
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.