On Thursday, the city of Amsterdam announced its plan to replace all gasoline and diesel-powered cars and motorcycles with electric vehicles by 2030. The plan is an attempt to address unhealthy and alarming rates of air pollution in the city due to high traffic.
Currently, toxic air pollution in Amsterdam exceeds European Union standards. In 2018, the Dutch health council called on the government to develop a plan to address toxic amounts of nitrogen dioxide and particle matter, specifically in the congested cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
“Pollution often is a silent killer and is one of the greatest health hazards in Amsterdam,” said Sharon Dijksma, the city’s traffic councilor. According to Dijksma, Amsterdam residents lose an average of one year off their life expectancy due to air pollution.
The Dutch government’s goal is to replace all polluting cars, buses, boats and motorcycles with electric vehicles or hydrogen powered vehicles. The plan will be rolled out in phases over the next decade, including:
- By 2020:
All cars built before 2005 will be banned from the city.
- By 2022:
All polluting public buses and taxis will be banned.
- By 2025:
All polluting boats and mopeds will also be banned. The city will also increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations in order to reach a total of at least 23,000.
Although climate activists are mostly supportive of the initiative, some groups fear that this car ban will unfairly affect poor families who cannot afford electric vehicles. The loudest voice of dissent comes from the Rai Association, an automotive industry lobbying group, which argues that the ban will shut low income families out of the city.
However, supporters argue that electric vehicles have become increasingly less expensive and that the price is expected to steadily decline over the next 11 years.
The government also plans to use subsidies and parking permits to incentivize drivers to switch to cleaner cars.
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