Netherlands has always been known as the forefront of sustainability. One of their cities, Zwolle, recently announced the implementation of world’s first bicycle lane composed of post-consumer waste that would normally be discarded or incinerated. Those include, plastic bottles, beer cups, cosmetic packaging and plastic furniture. For starter, the bike path will contain 70% recycled plastic and hopefully reach 100% in the future.
Apart from the cycling culture, Holland is also known for their extensive use of wind power. The government announced that, by 2018 they will run all the nation’s trains using only wind-generated power. They are definitely vocal in addressing and mitigating climate change. What’s interesting is, when I was researching, I found out that the Dutch carbon emissions per capita is actually among the highest in Europe. The problem is, Netherlands is very overcrowded, with 500 people per square km. That is double UK, and 4x of France. Green spaces are very limited. They also have one of the most dense road networks in Europe, with motorways linking major cities filled with cars.
The not as commonly known truth is that, the country is still largely funded by fossil fuels. Rotterdamn, the largest port in Europe is an ecological disaster zone. The North Sea beaches around Hook of Holland are filled with gas refineries. Not to mention, there are lots of heated plastic greenhouses to grow tulips and vegetables for export, that generates almost 3 kg of CO2 every rose stem grown.
Afterall, compared to the rest of the world, the Netherlands is definitely an example of going green. What world leaders should do, is to learn from their good practices and continue working towards a more sustainable future.
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