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Clean-air measures to increase NL residents’ lifespan by 3.5 months in 2030

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The Netherlands’ plans to reduce emissions and improve air quality are effective, public health institute RIVM said on Monday. Due to these measures, people in the Netherlands will live 3.5 months longer in 2030 on average, the RIVM said in its interim evaluation of the Clean Air Agreement. 

The RIVM measured the amount of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide Netherlands’ residents are exposed to and how much they would decrease if the plans in the Clean Air Agreement are implemented. The RIVM then combined this data with a study into how emissions affected the health of 7 million Netherlands residents. That study concluded that if emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide decrease, people have fewer health problems. 

Provided that all the plans the central government, municipalities, and provinces came up with for the Clean Air Agreement are actually implemented, they’ll achieve a 47 percent health gain in 2030 compared to 2016, the RIVM said. If additional measures for the climate and against nitrogen emissions for which there are no concrete policy yet are also implemented, the health gain could increase to 52 percent. The Clean Air Agreement’s goal is a health gain of 50 percent by 2030 compared to 2016.

The RIVM also examined whether the Clean Air Agreement would put the Netherlands in line with World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations on nitrogen dioxides and particulate matter. If all existing plans are implemented, most of the Netherlands will meet the WHO recommendations set in 2005, the institute said. The WHO updated these guidelines in September 2021. The RIVM is currently investigating whether the Netherlands will achieve the new recommendations.

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