Many cities around the globe are taking small steps to combat pollution and clean up their streets. But Amsterdam just took a major leap: the Dutch city has announced that it is planning to phase out all gas and diesel vehicles by 2030.
Amsterdam’s traffic councillor recently said, “Pollution often is a silent killer and is one of the greatest health hazards in Amsterdam.” You might be surprised that such a world-renowned bike-friendly city (30% of Dutch commuters travel by bike) has such an awful pollution problem, but air pollution in the Netherlands is worse than European rules permit. This is mainly due to the heavy traffic in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
The city’s plan is to replace all gas and diesel engines with electric or hydrogen cars, or other emission-free alternatives, by 2030. The plan will begin next year when diesel engines built before 2005 will be banned from Amsterdam. The plan then calls for gradual banning of more vehicles from city streets.
The current levels of nitrogen dioxide and particle matter in Amsterdam’s air can cause respiratory illnesses and shorten life expectancy by more than a year. The city plans to get rid of public buses that run on gas by 2022, to increase the number of electrical charging stations to 23,000 by 2025, and to offer subsidies and special parking permits to encourage residents to make the switch to electric and hydrogen cars sooner than later. We all know how crucial a nice parking spot can be, right?
Hopefully, other cities around the globe will take note – and in fact Brussels, Belgium, is already looking to follow Amsterdam’s lead.