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Further exploratory study of ultrafine particulate material around Schiphol

Nader verkennend onderzoek ultrafijnstof rond Schiphol


In the vicinity of Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, concentrations of ultrafine particles (UFPs) are elevated due to aircraft traffic. Immediately beyond the airport perimeter, the average contribution of aviation to the local UFP concentration is comparable to the contribution that road traffic makes to inner-city street UFP levels. As distance from the airport site increases, the UFP concentration diminishes: about fifteen kilometres from the airport, aviation's contribution to the concentration is roughly 20 per cent of what it is immediately outside the airport. Ultrafine particulate material is the finest fraction of particulate material, made up of particles measuring less than 0.1 micrometre in diameter. Although it is generally accepted that ultrafine particulate material is hazardous, relatively little is known about it. Consequently, it is not currently possible to ascertain whether and, if so, to what extent people living and working near to Schiphol experience adverse health effects as a result of exposure to ultrafine particulate material. Those are the central findings of an exploratory study undertaken for the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. Both natural processes and human activity contribute to the presence of ultrafine particulate material in the atmosphere. The main contributory human activities are the combustion of wood, the incineration of waste, and the use of fossil fuels in transport. In the spring of 2015, the concentrations of ultrafine particulate material in the atmosphere near to Schiphol Airport were measured by a consortium of four knowledge centres. The ultrafine particulate material in the area originates mainly from road traffic, aviation, and other vehicular traffic on and around the airport site. The limited data available in the scientific literature suggest that the levels measured around Schiphol are similar to those in the vicinity of other international airports. By means of computer modelling, the measured data were used to generate a map of an area surrounding Schiphol measuring roughly twenty kilometres by thirty. In most parts of the area, the total airborne UFP concentration was attributable mainly to sources other than aviation, with road traffic being the biggest contributor. The measured data show that air traffic around Schiphol and activities on the airport itself do contribute to UFP levels.

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