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Air quality in the Netherlands in 2012

Jaaroverzicht luchtkwaliteit 2012


The measured annual average concentrations for most air pollutants, such as particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, are exhibiting a steady long-term decline. Weather conditions being favourable for air quality, the results in 2012 were even lower than expected. However, if the long-term decline in nitrogen dioxide concentrations continues at the same rate, compliance with the limit values is not certain for all measurement locations in 2015. To guarantee such compliance, a stronger reduction than shown so far is required.

Measurements 2012
Up to 1 January 2015, the Netherlands has been granted exemption by the European Union from complying with European nitrogen dioxide standards related to the annual average concentration (40 micrograms per cubic metre). During this period less stringent limit values are applicable. These limit values have not been exceeded at any measurement location in the Netherlands. However, the final limit value was exceeded at approximately half the traffic-related monitoring sites in 2012, particulary in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Traffic contributes significantly to nitrogen dioxide concentrations. No exceedances were observed at rural or urban background stations. For particulate matter, the European standards were not exceeded at relevant locations in the Netherlands in 2012.

On five days in 2012 moderate smog levels were observed (ozone concentration higher than 180 micrograms per cubic metre). There were no instances of severe smog levels (ozone concentration higher than 240 micrograms per cubic metre).

In this yearly overview we have further integrated the results of our partner monitoring networks, as operated by the GGD Amsterdam and the DCMR. This integration is reflected in, among other things, the concentration development figures for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, which now incorporate data from these partner monitoring networks. Furthermore, in addition to the regular air quality measurements, this report contains the results of air quality measurements obtained by other methods. An example is the levels and trends of ammonia concentration from the Ammonia Monitoring Network in Nature (MAN).

The concentration levels of benzene have decreased far below the European standard in recent years. This has led to a reduced European measurement requirement and an adjustment during 2012 of the measurement strategy for benzene in the Dutch National Air Quality Monitoring Network. Occasionally, temporary high concentrations of benzene are still observed at locations in and around large industrial areas.

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