Expatica news

Dutch face uphill battle to meet pollution targets

7 May 2004

AMSTERDAM — Environmental pollution has been declining for the past decade in the Netherlands, but at a rate too slow to meet the goals set by the European Union, a government report indicated on Friday.

This means that aside from the negative environment and public health affects, the Netherlands also faces large fines, Dutch news agency ANP reported

The economic recession of 2003 resulted in small decline in industrial Carbon Dioxide emissions last year, the 2004 Environmental Balance report compiled by the Government Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) said.

On the other hand, CO2 emissions from traffic and power plants increased, Dutch public news service NOS reported.

The nitrogen and phosphate surplus in the agricultural sector is now 30 percent lower than 1998 levels, prompting RIVM to proclaim its policy against manure pollution is working. But it also said the gains were insufficient to meet the EU standard.

The release of other pollutants also remains too high, despite the fact that reductions in emissions of ammonia and greenhouse gases from the chemicals industry is well on track.

If the Netherlands maintains its present environmental policies, obtaining several goals will not be feasible. Despite the government’s planned measures, the emission of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and organic volatiles could probably be higher than agreed in 2010.

The RIVM said the nation might meet the agreements laid out in the Kyoto Protocol if the Netherlands meets part of its reductions by obtaining “foreign credits”.

The protocol binds industrialised nations to reduce worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2 percent below their 1990 levels over the next decade.

But to meet objections in regards nitrogen oxides, further traffic measures will need to be imposed. These oxides are responsible for the accumulation of smog.

Other nations are also encountering difficulties to reduce their pollution emissions, but the Netherlands is one of the worst performers of Europe due to a poor performance in the past two years. If it fails to meet EU goals, the Dutch nation is faced with the threat of tough fines.

Other EU nations are also having problems reducing smog and the RIVM said new and tougher traffic measures were required to improve air quality.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news