RIVM’s work on air quality is wide ranging. As well as monitoring quantities of air pollution, RIVM investigates the impact of air pollution on people and the environment.
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.
RIVM’s work on air quality is wide ranging. As well as monitoring quantities of air pollutants, the institute investigates 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 have to be reduced.
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 EU limit values set for fine particles and nitrogen dioxide emissions.
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 COPD and asthma patients in planning their
outdoor activities. This type of information is also available on the new app on air quality.
Set up 40 years ago, the National Air Quality Monitoring Network is now the official reference point for air quality measurement in the Netherlands. RIVM also plays a key role internationally in monitoring air quality. RIVM leads the European Topic Centre for Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation, a consortium of 14 organisations in Europe that collect and monitor data on air pollution, climate and noise in Europe. Studies are also carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of human health and environmental policy. In addition, RIVM transfers knowledge on air quality monitoring to other countries such as Turkey.
An innovation in monitoring fine air particles is the iSPEX-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.
iSPEX is a great innovation, involving citizens in air quality and health. By measuring air pollution, you are contributing to scientific insights and solutions.
Drs. Mariette van Empel Director Climate, Air and Sound, Acting Director General Environment and International Affairs, Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment