Cabinet clean air plans doomed to fail
25 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — Air pollution concerns took centre stage in the Netherlands again on Monday as a government institute warned that various measures to combat the problem will not achieve desired results.
25 April 2005
AMSTERDAM — Air pollution concerns took centre stage in the Netherlands again on Monday as a government institute warned that various measures to combat the problem will not achieve desired results.
The Government Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) warned that carbon filters and higher diesel taxes will not bring Dutch air pollution into line with European Union guidelines.
According to Brussels-imposed limits, there is an illegal amount of fine particles and nitrogen oxides at a large number of areas in the Netherlands.
To combat this, Environment Minister Pieter van Geel has devised a series of measures, such as stimulating the use of carbon filters for diesel cars.
But the RIVM said the proposed measures — which primarily focus on road traffic — will only have a limited affect.
The emission of fine particles and nitrogen oxide will decline, but the limit in 2020 will be breached at every one the 164 motorway junctions analysed by the RIVM.
Researchers attributed this to the fact that problems with fine particles around the major cities and motorways cannot be resolved simply with cleaner cars and trucks.
They said the problem will only be resolved if no more carbon is released into the air at these points.
Other sources of carbon pollution — both domestic and international — plus the wear and tear of tyres, road surface and brakes will play too much of an important role to reduce pollution in these areas.
The RIVM also said it was doubtful whether the Netherlands will convince the European Commission that it is seriously attempting to resolve air pollution. It said the Cabinet's plans were short-term measures.
The report also studied the affects of alternative measures proposed by opposition parties Labour PvdA, Socialist SP and green-left GroenLinks.
While these measures will not achieve the required improvements to air quality, the RIVM said they will spark greater improvement's than the Cabinet's plans.
Pressure to improve air quality in the Netherlands is increasing, due in part to the fact that rampant air pollution is blocking approval for the construction of roads, housing and industrial areas.
Satellite photos indicated last year the Netherlands has the world's worst nitrogen dioxide air pollution.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particles are thought to be responsible for about 5,000 premature deaths in the Netherlands and 200,000 across Europe.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news