Air pollution kills 18,000 every year
10 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — Startling figures have indicated 18,000 people die prematurely each year in the Netherlands due to continued exposure to air pollution.
10 May 2005
AMSTERDAM — Startling figures have indicated 18,000 people die prematurely each year in the Netherlands due to continued exposure to air pollution.
The revelation was made on Monday as the Government Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) urged the Netherlands to take stricter measures than other nations to create a cleaner environment.
The RIVM said besides European policies, additional measures are required to meet Brussels-imposed standards and climate targets.
The recommendations were made in the annual environment report from the RIVM planning bureau, which said "gradual" improvements are being made in reducing soil, water and air pollution.
However, the tempo of these improvements is too slow to meet European demands and the agreements laid out in the Kyoto Protocol.
The Nature and Environment Foundation (SNM) and Friends of the Earth (Milieudefensie) also demanded the government work harder to protect the environment.
Green-left GroenLinks MP Wijnand Duijvendak pleaded for a "revolution in environmental policy", urging the government to implement a kilometre levy to cut traffic congestion and reduce the amount of Dutch livestock.
Environment State Secretary Pieter van Geel admitted on Tuesday the RIVM warning was correct, but stressed that the environmental targets will be met however possible.
He said if interim readings indicate current measures are inadequate, the government will simply draw up more policy.
The director of the RIVM planning bureau, Klaas van Egmond, said environmental protection should gain priority because the current price that is being paid is too high.
He pointed to the 18,000 people who die every year 10 years too early due to exposure to black smut and other air pollutants.
The RIVM said the need for more stringent measures is demonstrated by failures to meet the targeted cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. Energy savings of just 1 percent are reported each year compared to the target of 1.3 percent.
The percentage of sustainable energy will be 3.5 percent in 2010 compared to the target of 5 percent.
The planning bureau said the Netherlands must work harder for a clean environment because it is densely populated, meaning more carbon dioxide is released per square metre than elsewhere. It is also being polluted by other countries.
The researchers said measures in addition to European Union policy must be taken, but State Secretary Van Geel also said the Netherlands allocates up to three times the amount of funding per resident than other nations to combat environmental degradation.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news