Photo credit: Shoestring at wts wikivoyage has dedicated this image into the public domain

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

The Netherlands’ Schiphol Airport is one of the world’s busiest, and its environmental impacts both in terms of noise pollution and air pollution have long been a problem.

Last week, Reuters reported that the Dutch government finally took action, limiting flights to 440,000 annually, 11% below the 2019 number. The primary concern was noise pollution for those living near the airport and under its flight paths, although the government also pointed to the airport’s impact on “nature and climate.” The government can do this because it is the majority owner of the airport.

As Reuters reported, “[t]he move is intended to restore ‘the balance between a well-operating international airport, the business climate, and the interests of a better and healthier living environment,’ Transportation Minister Mark Harbers said in a statement announcing the decision.”

Aircraft or aviation noise is a public health hazard, causing cardiovascular disease and increased mortality. Recent studies have specifically linked aircraft noise to heart attacks.

The World Health Organization recognizes the dangers of aircraft or aviation noise, and promulgated guidelines to reduce public noise exposure.

We don’t understand why our federal authorities don’t appear to be concerned about Americans being sickened and dying from aircraft noise.