Simple questions # 1: Why is there no regulation for chemicals in fuel oil?
(Arjan Bos) You wouldn't say it at first sight, but the Netherlands is still the chemical waste pit of the whole world. From everywhere, and in very large quantities, we import chemical waste here. The processing of this is expensive, but because the Netherlands is the only country in the world that has not drawn up adequate rules for what may be in fuel oil, the chemical waste is largely processed here.
Worldwide this is the country where companies dump their chemical waste for a good price and this is then used to make cheap fuel oil. So cheap, in fact, that ships that use 70 to 100,000 liters a day sail from the Mediterranean to refuel in Rotterdam.
These large users pollute much more than airplanes. In fact, only 16 large sea ships pollute as much as all cars around the world. Now, around 22,000 of those large seagoing vessels are filling up in Rotterdam, almost half of the world's fleet. Those ships that refuel here therefore together burn 1,375 times the total emissions of all cars around the world. But now with the addition of neurotoxins, cyanides, acids, heavy metals and even radioactive waste.
This all ends up in our environment, an appropriate term for this is ecocide. And only because of the missing regulations on fuel oil. It comes in the sea, in the fish, in our drinking water and in the air. Because we drink, eat and breathe, that also comes to us!
Cautious estimates, due to the use of polluted fuel oil in shipping, result in 60,000 deaths per year. These are not as visible as in a war, but if simple and fair regulation could prevent at least 60,000 deaths a year, you could also call it genocide?
Companies with a criminal record due to environmental crimes may co-write in the Netherlands with a crucial new environmental law at the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. They can even determine how often they can be checked and which chemicals they can mix with fuel oil. And as if that wasn't enough, research shows that in addition to this red carpet for dubious companies and multinationals, government officials are involved in 48% of environmental crime cases.
But in the House of Representatives, Rutte explicitly called for fewer rules and fewer controls: all that hassle would only dampen companies. In the meantime, the environmental inspectorate has surrendered three-quarters of its manpower and the government explicitly thwarts enforcement and investigation. Fraudulent waste processors can get started without a permit, and the companies involved are now eagerly raising subsidies and making extra profits.
The climate goals have even been laid down by law, all election campaigns as green as grass, and the environmental impact has reached a record high in 2017. But despite all the election promises, this does not go to great initiatives such as the Ecoliner with sails on cargo ships that can save 50% fuel oil with the same crew and thus reduce 687 times the total emissions of all cars throughout the world. On the contrary, instead of subsidy, they have to deal with strong opposition from the government and business and the fossil industry still receives 7.6 billion subsidy per year.
Let me ask all members of the cabinet 1 simple question:
Why is there no adequate regulation and enforcement for chemical waste in fuel oil?
And now that I have you on the line, I make another suggestion:
Sustainable ambitions are very easy to buy:
Give a sufficient part of the 7.6 billion subsidy that still goes to the fossil industry every year to the development of sailing cargo ships. If the fuel oil is then no longer chemical, it is also used 50% less. A saving of more than 687 times the emissions of all cars throughout the world
Then back to you and me:
We now see a government that openly protects businesses against the citizens,
even convicted polluters to make new environmental laws
and public health accountability is completely neglected
What do you and I do with it?