RIVMRijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu’s work on air quality is wide-ranging. As well as monitoring quantities of air pollutants, we investigate the impact of air pollution on people and the environment. The results of these investigations are used as the basis for decisions by government on measures to mitigate air pollution.

Long-term exposure to fine air particles can aggravate health conditions, such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, causing thousands of deaths in the Netherlands annually. Air pollution is also a threat to the natural environment, to plant and animal biodiversity. Thus, emissions of air pollutants have to be reduced.

Combining strengths

Expertise is combined in the National Cooperation Programme on Air Quality, in which the Dutch Government and other government bodies work to ensure that the Netherlands promptly meets EUEuropean Union limit values set for fine particles and nitrogen dioxide emissions.

Warning via app

Every hour of the day, RIVM updates the air quality map of the Netherlands for nitrogen dioxide, ozone and fine particles on the website of the National Air Quality Monitoring Network. RIVM also publishes forecasts for several days of these substances. Being warned of concentrations exceeding certain levels is vital for COPDchronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma patients in planning their outdoor activities. This type of information is also available on an air quality appMore information on the air quality app

Innovation

An innovation in monitoring fine air particles is the iSPEXSpectropolarimeter for Planetary EXploration add on to iPhone-app that enables citizens to monitor levels themselves on smartphones. RIVM expects that this new technology will provide additional information about the type of fine particles in the air. iSPEX was developed by a large team of scientists from different organisations in the Netherlands.