‘Air pollution would push ten thousands of Dutch to move’
Ten thousands of Dutch citizens would like to move to seek for better air quality. Some actually do but others don’t have the possibility (or financial means) and stay where they are. That is the conclusion of the Lung Fund, which calls on municipalities to join the Clean Air Agreement.
Together, they want to improve the quality of the air by taking concrete measures and exchanging expertise. Today, hardly 56 of 355 municipalities have signed the agreement. Two out of three people with lung disease (1,2 million Dutch citizens) suffer from tightness of the chest, a dry cough, irritated mucus membranes, or reduced lung function.
According to the Lung Fund, that is why one out of eight of them (12%) considers moving. Many of those complaints are caused by wood-burning stoves (65%), road traffic (63%), barbecues (62%), and fire baskets (60%).
Clean air is vital. Every year, at least 12 000 premature deaths in the Netherlands are caused by pollution. The Netherlands, unfortunately, is a forerunner as far as air pollution is concerned, the Lung Fund days.
Being exposed to particles, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone indeed causes or worsens asthma, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cardiovascular diseases. In one out of five Dutch children with asthma, the disease is nitrogen-related.
Work to be done
One year ago – on January 13th, to be precise – the Clean Air Agreement was signed. Nine provinces and 36 municipalities signed the agreement; by November 2020, there were 11 provinces and 56 municipalities. “It’s a good start, but it’s far from enough,” says Lung Fund director Michael Rutgers. “There’s still a lot of work to be done.”