Schiphol pollution levels need further investigation, says public health institute
The volume of polluting ultrafine particles in the air around Schiphol airport forms a potential health risk for people living nearby, the public health institute RIVM says in a new report.
The average concentration of these tiny particles around Schiphol is the same as that caused by road traffic in inner city areas, the RIVM says.
Last year, the TNO research institute said Schiphol is a ‘considerable source’ of ultrafine particle pollution. This led junior transport minister Wilma Mansveld to ask the RIVM to investigate the potential impact on health.
The RIVM says further research internationally is necessary to establish if these ultrafine particles do pose an extra health risk. The volume of these tiny particles at Schiphol is in line with other airports, the institute says.
Ultrafine particles, or nanoparticles, are thought now to be the most abundant particulate pollutants in urban and industrial areas due to traffic, power plants and incinerators.
Environmental groups are using the RIVM and TNO reports to call for curbs on Schiphol’s expansion plans. ‘We used to think that vehicle traffic to and from the airport was more damaging to air quality than the planes themselves, but this is not the case,’ Ivo Stumpe of campaign group Milieudefensie told the Volkskrant.