RIVM measurements: No reduction in harmful precipitation in Tata region

High levels of carcinogenic substances (PAHs) and lead were also found in the dust collected around Tata Steel. This happened during RIVM’s measurements this spring. The amounts consistently match the results of the same study two years ago.

However, there are differences between locations around Tata Steel. For example, levels of carcinogens and metals in Wijk aan Zee are lower than they were two years ago, while in Beverwijk they are higher. Relatively large amounts of lead were found at Velsen and IJmuiden. RIVM attributes this to the weather, especially the wind.

Therefore, the RIVM concluded that the precipitation of carcinogens and metals in the region was as high as in 2020 and Tata contributed significantly to the precipitation of these substances. But according to the institute, the spatial distribution is different due to different weather conditions. Other sources – such as other companies in the region – can also contribute to emissions. It is not possible to say from which company the precipitation came.

Therefore, RIVM is not yet able to make a statement about the decrease or increase in carcinogens and metals from Tata Steel. The Department of Infrastructure and Water Management agrees, saying that longer-term investigations are needed.

PAH emissions reduced by half

Tata Steel says in a response that it is working to reduce emissions of noise, odor, dust and heavy metals. Last week, Tata reported that it has halved its carcinogen emissions since 2019. Odor emissions at Kooksen Gasfabriek 2 and Staalfabriek were also reduced by more than half. According to Tata Steel, this research was conducted by certified organizations.

This study was about emissions, while these RIVM measurements were about precipitation of matter. How much and where the emissions are located depends on several factors, such as the nature of the substances emitted, the weather and the altitude at which the emissions occur.

“It’s not impossible that reduction has occurred,” says one RIVM researcher, “but this was not reflected in the deposition of these materials near Tata.”

Tata says it has made significant progress in reducing emissions. A spokesperson said, “Of course we will continue. We have big goals for the coming years.”

The steelmaker also says he understands that people are worried about their health: “We read this online and offline, even when talking to local residents. The vast majority of our employees and contractors live in the area. We have a common goal.” : a clean living environment. We do our best every day to further reduce the impact of our factories on the living environment.”

Important Steps

In a letter to Parliament, State Minister for Infrastructure and Water Management Vivianne Heijnen said she thinks the investigation should be repeated. “Meanwhile, I am confident that Tata Steel will continue to vigorously implement the agreed measures and this will lead to improvements in the health of local people and the environment. In the next one and a half to two years, significant steps are expected to be taken to reduce emissions from Tata Steel’s dust and gases.”

The next survey is already scheduled. In the spring of 2023, RIVM will publish the new results of its measurements this fall. Tata itself says it will continue to study its emissions.

Source: NOS