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PM2.5 Average Exposure Index 2009-2011 in the Netherlands

Gemiddelde blootstellingsindex PM2.5 2009-2011 in Nederland


Over the last thirty years the air quality in Europe has improved substantially. Nevertheless, air pollution, and especially particulate matter, still remains a major threat to public health. In recent years, increasing attention has focused on the adverse effects of the "fine particles" of particulate matter, such as PM2.5 (particles with a diameter of <2.5 ┬Ám). These small particles are considered to be very harmful to human health, in particular over the long term. The European Directive on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe, which entered into force in 2008, establishes specific limits on the concentration levels of PM2.5. Among other things the Directive requires that each Member State determine the average exposure to PM2.5 over a three-year period, the so-called Average Exposure Index (AEI). Depending on the outcome, Member States are then obliged to decrease the average exposure to PM2.5 in 2018-2020. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has therefore measured PM2.5 levels at twelve urban background locations in the period 2009-2011 and calculated the AEI based on these measurements.

For the Netherlands, the AEI in the period 2009-2011 has been set at 17.0 micrograms per cubic meter. A reduction target of 15% has been linked to this value. To achieve this target, the AEI in the urban background in the Netherlands between 2018 and 2020 has to decrease by approximately 2.6 micrograms per cubic meter.

Model calculations using different economic growth scenarios predict a reduction ranging from 15 to 17% for the period 2018-2020, indicating the Netherlands should meet the reduction target. However, due to the margin in the model calculations as well as other, much larger uncertainties in these calculations, the expected reduction can ultimately be either higher or lower. It is therefore important that the extent to which annual emissions and concentrations of PM2.5 decrease are monitored on an annual basis. If necessary, additional measures to lower PM2.5 concentration can then be considered.

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