© Hollandse Hoogte

Health benefits through cleaner air

Air pollution strongly contributes to health effects and death. In the Netherlands, exposure to particulate matter alone results in approximately 4% of the disease burden. After smoking (13%), air pollution is one of the most important risks, in the same range as obesity (5%) and physical inactivity (3-4%). The air in the Netherlands has become much cleaner. However, considerable health benefits can still be made. In order to achieve this, air quality must improve further than the World Health Organisation advises. This requires ambitious plans from the Dutch government. The Health Council advises the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management to give priority to reducing the concentrations of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide originating from road traffic (in particular diesel vehicles) and to dealing with the emissions of ammonia from livestock farming.