Tata Steel Plant emitted more pollutants than reported

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In the vicinity of the Tata Steel Plant in IJmuiden, more emissions are measured than the company itself reports, RIVM reports on Friday. This may be due to conscious or unconscious mistakes made by Tata Steel, but there may also be other causes, according to the Health Institute.

For particulate matter, the measurements were sufficiently similar, but the amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and metals, both harmful to health, are much greater than the reports show. For example, RIVM measured six times more lead emissions and in some places up to a thousand times more benzoperylene, a substance that is formed during the combustion of fossil fuels, among other things.

RIVM emphasises that this does not necessarily mean that Tata Steel, consciously or unconsciously, is underreporting. “That may be one of the causes, but there are other possibilities,” explains researcher Janneke Elberse. According to her, part of those additional emissions could also come from subcontractors on the Tata Steel site. They are not required to record their emissions.

Another option is that the correct source was not determined from all substances. Also, substances can be blown up by the wind, so that they are measured again in the air or on the ground. To determine where the problem lies, RIVM is asking for more data on the emissions of ashes and metals on the Tata Steel site.

What the health institute has been able to establish very clearly is that Tata Steel is the largest emitter of paks and metals in the IJmond region. This region includes IJmuiden, Wijk aan Zee, Beverwijk and Velsen-Noord. However, the exact share of Tata Steel in emissions is unclear. For example, ships, traffic and a number of natural sources also emit these substances.

CEO Tata Steel: ‘underreporting was absolutely not our intention’

Tata Steel does not understand where the discrepancy comes from and wants to discuss this with RIVM. “We want to find out as soon as possible, because it is absolutely not the intention to underreport,” says Hans van den Berg, CEO of Tata Steel Nederland.

The company announced at the end of last year that it wants to reduce its lead emissions by 2023 by 70 percent compared to 2019. Paks emissions should be halved this year compared to 2019. “For that, of course, it is important to know whether that emission report was correct,” says Van den Berg. If it turns out that certain things are not right, Tata Steel will react quickly and possibly take stronger measures.

About the author

Nicholas de Kramer

Nicholas de Krammer, а self-taught economic analytic with heave mathematical background. Math behind the economics (and economics behind math) is the strong side of the author. Contact him at [email protected]

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